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How to Support Ethical Businesses

Business ethics is what guides the values, behaviors and decisions of a business and its employees. That’s great for the business, but why does it matter for you, the customer? By choosing to shop at an ethical business, you show your values and your dedication to honesty and equality.

The Five Categories of Ethical Business

There are five categories of business ethics: honesty, sustainability, diversity, exploitation, and donations. After going through these categories, we’ll give you some ideas for how you can be an ethical shopper.

  • Honest companies are ethical companies. The company as a whole doesn’t participate in business that could be seen as manipulative or dishonest, and neither do any of their employees.
  • Sustainability is becoming more important for many Americans. Buying from companies that work to take care of the planet is a good place to start.
  • Making an effort be inclusive and diverse at work is also an important ethical practice. By hiring people from different backgrounds and lifestyles, companies can make sure that everyone’s voice is heard.
  • It’s also important to look at how a company treats its employees. Some companies that produce goods overseas exploit local workers, especially in developing countries. By buying from an ethical business, you encourage the health and safety of people involved in producing the goods you buy.
  • Finally, look at a company’s donations, volunteer work and other contributions. Who or what a company chooses to support can be a big indicator of how ethical the organization is. For example, WoodmenLife is dedicated to serving families and our country, and our volunteer work reflects that.

How You Can Be an Ethical Consumer

Supporting ethical businesses may take a little work, and you might have to switch up your routine, but knowing your hard earned money is going to an ethical business is worth it. Follow these steps to help you along the way.

  • Educate yourself.
    • Research your favorite companies’ business practices and make sure their values and morals match yours.
    • Check out websites like to find out about larger companies and use the Better Business Bureau to find ethical business near you.
    • Local organizations in your area may give out awards for ethics. For example, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) awards the BBB Integrity Award to organizations that are committed to being ethical. WoodmenLife is proud to be a recipient of the 2019 award and excited to help promote safe, ethical workplaces.
  • Shop local.
    • This puts money back into your community and shows support for your friends and neighbors. Local businesses are more likely to support local organizations.
    • Your money doesn’t support companies that use child labor or dangerous working conditions, which are common with foreign manufacturers.
    • You’re supporting American-made products, which helps:
      • Create American jobs
      • Grow the U.S. economy.
      • Protect the planet, by buying from companies with higher environmental standards.
  • Buy used.
    • This cuts down on the millions of tons of waste Americans create every year
    • Second-hand stores are often connected to local charities and help support your community.

Supporting ethical businesses doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, you may already be doing it! The more shoppers support ethical businesses, the more businesses will become ethical, and it will be easier for all of us to be ethical.

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WoodmenLife was founded in 1890 as a not for profit. The organization gives back to its nearly 700,000 customers, who join together in a commitment to family, community and country. With a legacy of financial stability, WoodmenLife offers quality life insurance and retirement products. To learn more about WoodmenLife, visit