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human rights

What We Learned in 2015

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What We Learned in 2015

What We Learned in 2016 -- WhyWhisper Collective

2015 was an exciting year! We worked to expand access to integrative healthcare for communities in need, designed programs to support new mothers, expanded awareness of clean energy initiatives in New York, and so much more. We connected with inspiring individuals who are working to change the world every day. We made big internal changes (that we’re excited to share with you in 2016!). And, perhaps most importantly, we learned a lot.

Along the way, we’ve been sure to share many of our takeaways with you via our blog. As 2015 comes to a close and you’re kicking of 2016, be sure to check out the posts below to find insights on the subjects (both personal and professional) that are most relevant to you!

Start with Yourself

This year, we learned a lot about the importance of taking time for self-care and self-improvement. The positive effects of taking care of yourself extend to all areas of your life -- from mental health to workplace effectiveness. Self-improvement looks different for each individual, and can encompass anything from taking time off, to making more responsible purchasing decisions, to educating yourself about things that matter to you. To help you get started, here’s some of what we’ve learned:

 

Learn from the Experts

We believe one of the best ways to learn about social impact is by example. This year, we’ve been lucky enough to connect with and learn from innovative and effective leaders from nonprofits, social enterprises, and corporations. Here’s a bit of what we’ve learned:

 

Share Your Message

One of our focus areas at WhyWhisper is helping nonprofits and socially conscious businesses spread the word about their work. From developing voice and messaging guidelines to implementing an effective social media strategy and beyond, there are so many ways you can ensure that people know about the impact you’re making. If you’re looking for tips, start here:

 

Think About Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

The concept of building social impact into existing business models is on the rise, and we couldn’t be more excited about it. Businesses and corporations can make significant headway in addressing social issues, and we look forward to seeing (and helping) more of you follow suit next year. If you’re interested in learning more about CSR, here’s some of what we’ve shared this past year:

 

Increase Your Impact

We’re constantly exploring ways that organizations and businesses can make internal changes that have a positive effect on their workplaces and on the world. Here’s some of what we’ve learned:

 

Take Action

We’re also always looking for ways to help our community bridge the gap between caring about a particular issue and actually taking action. When you’re short on resources, or don’t really know where to get started, it can be tough to make moves. We’ve put together a number of posts about how you can take action around different issues – and some are as easy as talking about the issues online! Check them out:

 

Words of Wisdom for Freelancers

At WhyWhisper, we set out to build a different kind of work structure. As such, our team is comprised of consultants who work remotely and independently, taking on projects that are personally meaningful with teammates who support and inspire. But freelancing has its own challenges, and we’ve learned a lot along the way:

What’s your biggest learning from 2015? We’d love to hear about it, and share with our community. Here’s how to get in touch:

Happy New Year to our incredible community! We’re so lucky to learn from you every day, and can’t wait for all that we’ll do together this year. Feel free to connect with us anytime – we love to hear from you.

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Take a Stand for Human Rights

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Take a Stand for Human Rights

by Kate Vandeveld

Tomorrow is International Human Rights Day, commemorating the day that UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. To give some context, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was the first global expression of rights that all human beings are inherently entitled to – in other words, an extremely important step in the human rights movement.

This year, the day is dedicated to the launch of a year-long campaign for the 50thanniversary of the two major human rights covenants adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 1966. The theme for 2015 is ‘Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always.’, focusing on such rights and freedoms as freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. You can learn more about the day and what it represents here.

International Human Rights Day provides us with an opportunity to take time out of our lives to think about the rights that we believe every human should have, who lacks them, and what actions we can take to stand up for them. 

So today, we challenge you to really think about that: What do you care about enough to stand up for, and how will you go about it?

If you’re looking for some ideas to get started, here are a few campaigns we support:

Eliminate Gender Based Violence 

An estimated 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives. And that’s a conservative estimate – as you might imagine, a large number of cases go unreported.

Not enough people are aware of these shocking statistics, and that’s the first problem. That’s why from November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, through tomorrow, UN Women has been running a campaign to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls all over the world. The United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence Against Women campaign is encouraging you to “Orange the World” by sharing photos, messages, and videos to raise awareness about the problem. If you want to join the campaign, check out their Facebook and Twitter feeds and learn how you can spread awareness yourself.

 

Stand up for LGBT Rights

In more than half of the country, the LGBT community can be denied employment just because of their suspected sexual preferences – it’s legal in 31 American states. And this is only the beginning of the appalling statistics surrounding this issue – learn more about LGBT discrimination here.

If you want to help spread awareness of the issues surrounding LGBT rights, check out the UN’s Free & Equal Campaign, a global public education campaign for LGBT equality. The primary purpose of this campaign is to raise awareness of homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination, and promote greater respect for the rights of LGBT and intersex people everywhere.  

 

Join the Movement for Gender Equality

Gender inequality remains a huge issue, across all sectors. To start, women in most countries earn on average only 60 to 75 per cent of men’s wages, and girls all over the world continue to be majorly excluded from education systems. And, once again, this is just the beginning – you can learn more here.  

One of our favorite initiatives around gender equality is the He for She campaign. He for She brings men and women together to support one another, for the benefit of both genders. They’re building a movement that creates substantive impact at the policy level, and they’re working to get the masses involved. You can commit to taking action against gender discrimination and violence in order to build a more just and equal world here, or take it a step further with help from their action kit

 

Support Syrian Refugees

Right now in Syria, 13.5 million people need humanitarian assistance. 4.3 million Syrians are refugees, and 6.6 million are displaced within Syria – half of which are children. These people – all of them – need our help. Why now? Winter is coming, and refugees who are currently living in settlements have fewer resources than they’ve ever had. And this means that they’re more vulnerable to trafficking and other dangerous forms of escape.

If you want to provide support in this critical moment, start with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), which is providing basic and necessary humanitarian aid to Syrians in need. This aid takes the form of cash for medicine and food, supplies for heating, winter clothing, and more. Every donation makes a difference, and UNHCR explains exactly how each dollar amount will impact the individuals and families who need it most.

 

On the most basic level, just talking about human rights violations on your own digital platforms (and in real life!) is so important. Think about the issues that matter to you, do some research, and spread the word. 

What are you doing to stand up for human rights today (and beyond!)? Share with us – here’s how:

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The Unusual Suspects: 5 Big Companies That Are Doing Good

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The Unusual Suspects: 5 Big Companies That Are Doing Good

by Kate Vandeveld

We talk a lot about businesses and organizations that are focused on doing well by doing good. These are social enterprises that have built their business models around social impact: doing good is part of their brand DNA.

Equally as important are the existing companies that may not have set out originally to contribute to social good, but have implemented programs and initiatives aimed at doing good as they’ve developed. Though social impact was not built into their business models, the work that some of these large-scale companies are doing is incredibly impactful as a result of their scale and global influence.

The Unusual Suspects: 5 Big Companies That Are Doing Good -- via WhyWhisper

What’s more, employees are an important part of the equation.  In a 2014 report, 55% of millennials surveyed said that a company’s involvement in cause-based work influences their decision to accept a job. So integrating social impact into a corporation’s strategy isn’t just good for the world, it’s actually becoming necessary for attracting and retaining talent.

Here are five of the many large corporations that are focusing on social impact, as well as how they’re doing it:

American Express

When you think of American Express, one of the world’s largest credit card companies, social impact may not be top of mind. But the company has actually developed a number of socially conscious programs in recent years. Their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs include a Leadership Academy, a historic preservation initiative, and incentivized community service.

In 2010, American Express even launched Small Business Saturday, which falls the day after Black Friday, a day that is well known for catering to large corporations. In contrast to Black Friday, Small Business Saturday supports small, local businesses by helping them spread the word about their own products and services, and encouraging consumers to shop there instead of going big. And shopping small business is important: small businesses are better for the economy, human rights, and the environment. As a whole, American Express’s efforts to have a positive impact both internally and on a global level have been huge.

Cisco

Cisco is a multinational technology company that designs, manufactures, and sells various types of networking equipment. Though its offering is not built around impact, its focus on social responsibility is one of its core values. As it states on its website, at Cisco, "any success that is not achieved ethically is no success at all."

Cisco’s CSR programs are numerous. The company leverages its tech focus to make an impact across the following areas: access to education, healthcare, economic empowerment, critical human needs and disaster relief, environmental sustainability, governance and ethics, and supply chain standards. Its Global Impact Map shows at-a-glance the incredible work that it’s doing globally, and its 2014 CSR Report details the impact that these programs are having. Cisco also has a strong focus on work-life balance internally, and works hard to foster a strong culture of empowerment, engagement and innovation among its employees.  As with American Express, Cisco has used its tech assets and scale to do immeasurable good, though social impact was not a goal of the company at its outset.

Patagonia

Patagonia, a high-end outdoor apparel company, has been making headlines for its social impact efforts over the past several years, specifically around sustainability. Patagonia has worked to increase transparency around its supply chain, giving consumers a glimpse into the environmental and social impact of developing and distributing its clothing through The Footprint Chronicles.  It’s made remarkable efforts to ensure that everything that goes into their products is traceable and responsibly sourced, as well as fair trade certified. Patagonia also gives 1% of sales to environmental organizations all over the world.

Beyond its efforts around sustainability, Patagonia has developed CSR initiatives to increase employee happiness and promote fair labor practices. As the company’s CEO Rose Marcario recently stated at the White House-hosted Working Families: Champions of Change event, Patagonia has seen a notable increase in employee retention as a result of its efforts to offer fair benefits and showing employees that the company cares about them. We’ve discussed the importance of fairness and compassion in business, and its results are made very apparent in this case.

Gap Inc.

Gap Inc. is a large-scale clothing retailer, with over 3,000 stores employing over 150,000 people globally. But producing and distributing clothing isn’t all the Gap is about. In fact, the company’s “Do More” programs are centered around its focus on positive social impact, including providing equal pay for employees of all genders, a focus on sustainability, and a commitment to maintaining safe and fair labor conditions in their 800+ global factories.

Gap Inc. also launched its P.A.C.E. program in 2007 to provide work and life advancement opportunities to the women who make their clothes. Using company resources and leveraging partnerships with local community organizations, the P.A.C.E. (Personal Advancement Career Enhancement) Program provides skills, education and technical training to the women who make up 70% of the company’s team of garment makers. To date, more than 30,000 women have participated in the program.

Microsoft

As most of us know, Microsoft is a multinational technology company that primarily develops and distributes computers and computer software. We may not be as familiar with the company’s noteworthy commitment to social responsibility. The company’s social impact efforts are both internally and externally-focused, ranging from developing a diverse, inclusive, and respectful work environment for employees to consistently working towards more sustainable operations.

Perhaps one of the most remarkable aspects of Microsoft’s social responsibility efforts is its expansion beyond Microsoft itself. Earlier this year, Microsoft issued a new mandate to its contractors: If they want to work with the leading tech provider, they’ll have to offer their own employees paid time off. This concept is somewhat revolutionary, and one that only a company with as much clout and power as Microsoft would be able to pull off without losing an egregious amount business. Right now, only 12% of private sector employees are given paid sick days, which is problematic in a myriad of ways. Efforts like this will go a long way to change that in the absence of federal policy change.


These are just a few of the increasing number of powerful large corporations that are working to build out their CSR efforts and have a positive impact on their employees and our world. Do you know of others? Tell us about them! We want to talk about them. Here’s how you can do it:

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Teach Yourself a Lesson with These Free Online Courses

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Teach Yourself a Lesson with These Free Online Courses

by Kate Vandeveld

As many of us know all too well, getting an education can be expensive.

In Tuesday’s State of the Union address, President Obama said that “too many bright Americans are priced out of the education that they need,” and reinforced his plan to provide free community college to students who want to attend but can’t afford it. He argued that our society rewards education in a greater way than ever before, making it increasingly crucial for everyone to have access to education, regardless of socioeconomic status.

Free Online Courses

In light of the movement towards accessible education, we’re excited to share some of the many courses that you can access for free online. Whether you are interested in picking up a new skill or want to learn more about a subject that interests you, these sites provide you with the opportunity to do so without racking up unnecessary debt. Plus, online learning can be incredibly effective: A report by the U.S. Department of Education notes that classes with an online learning component “on average, produce stronger student learning outcomes than do classes with solely face-to-face instruction.”

Here are a few of our favorite resources for free online courses:

 

Coursera is a for-profit education platform that offers a wide variety of massive open online courses, or MOOCs. As of October of last year, over 22 million individuals were enrolled in the almost 600 courses available on the platform. Founded by Stanford graduates, Coursera partners with over 100 colleges and universities worldwide to offer a selection of their courses online for free.

With Coursera, you can complete your assignments and reading on a relatively flexible schedule, making it ideal for those who are unable to commit to a predetermined course timeline. That said, you won’t be able to work entirely at your own pace: only a portion of each course’s curriculum is “active” at a given time, so you will need to complete assignments during the allotted time period. This is because with Coursera, you are actually interacting with a professor and other students, giving you the chance to ask questions and engage in class discussion throughout the given time period.

Coursera also offers Verified Certificates to those students who complete a course on a Signature Track. This is essentially a paid version of an otherwise free course, thereby giving students official verification of course completion. 

 

edX is a non-profit MOOC provider that is similar to Coursera in that it offers free courses that are affiliated with colleges and universities from all over the world. Founded by graduates of Harvard and MIT, edX offers over 400 courses to more than 3 million users worldwide.

As with Coursera, edX courses are on a fixed timeline, but with flexibility around when students can complete assignments within that given timeline. edX also offers students the option to pay for a Verified Certificate, similar to the option provided by Coursera.

When it comes to deciding between Coursera and edX, we suggest that you choose which you’ll use based on the available course options, as both offer similar features.


Khan Academy is a non-profit education platform that develops and provides YouTube video lectures on a variety of subjects. Khan Academy courses are for all ages, starting with Kindergarten-level. The platform also provides tools and educational resources for teachers, along with resources on subjects like college admissions. Khan Academy’s lectures are available worldwide, and are currently translated into almost 40 languages.

Because Khan Academy’s courses are not affiliated with specific institutions, you can really learn at your own pace. Just select the topics that you want to learn, and then watch the videos and complete the associated exercises, as you’re able.  


Skillshare is different from the other platforms we’ve discussed thus far, in that it is geared toward creative fields rather than academic subjects. Skillshare, whose subjects range from photography to advertising to food and more, allows students to work at their own pace, while also providing them with access to a community of others who are taking related courses.

Skillshare offers free and paid membership options. The paid version provides users with unlimited access to their courses for $8 a month. This supports its teachers and also includes a donation to a membership for a student in need. Team membership is a bit more costly at $24 a month, but it provides students with personalized learning plans, dedicated learning experts, and detailed progress tracking.  

 

Codecademy is an free online education platform for those who want to learn how to code, offering courses in 6 different programming languages – HTML & CSS, Javascript, jQuery, Python, Ruby, and PHP. As of September 2014, Codecademy had over 24 million unique users.

With Codecademy, users build their own profiles and then work on their own projects – all at their own paces. Whether you’re looking to build a personal website or start a new career in computer programming, Codecademy’s lessons and exercises will help you develop the coding-related skills you need. Additionally, it provides feedback on users’ work, and badges upon completion of different exercises, so as to provide encouragement as you master the art of coding.

 

These platforms are revolutionizing education by opening doors for bright individuals who may not otherwise have the means to pursue learning opportunities.

Do you know of free educational platforms that you think others should know about too? Share it with us in the comments below, or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. We’re happy to help spread the word.

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Join the Fight Against Human Trafficking

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Join the Fight Against Human Trafficking

by Kate Vandeveld

Recently, human trafficking has received increased public focus. Why? Human trafficking is the illegal movement of people for the purposes of forced labor or sexual exploitation. It’s a devastating social issue, and it’s happening both internationally and here in the United States. 

Photo by Maranie Rae (http://www.maranierae.com/)

Photo by Maranie Rae (http://www.maranierae.com/)

As a multi-billion dollar industry, the International Labor Organization estimated that in 2014, there were 21 million victims of human trafficking, 5.5 million of whom were children. Recently, Pope Francis called out human trafficking as being the most pressing issue of 2015, saying that each of us “is called to combat modern forms of enslavement,” and that people from all cultures and religions must join forces in the fight against it. In 2012, President Obama committed to increase the U.S.’s efforts to combat human trafficking at the Clinton Global Initiative; and in 2014, the White House released its Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States, a five year plan that lays out the steps that the U.S. will take on the federal level to identify trafficking victims and give them access to the services they need to start over.

This month, in support of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness month, we're providing you with a few key ways you can join this fight.

 

Inform Yourself

The first step to joining the anti-trafficking movement is to inform yourself of the issue. While most are aware of trafficking in a general sense, many do not know that it’s happening right here in the United States, likely even in your own city or town.

In 2014, Polaris Project rated each state’s human trafficking laws based on 10 categories that make up the legal framework for combatting human trafficking, punishing traffickers, and supporting victims. As of July 2014, 39 states were ranked as Tier 1, meaning that they passed significant laws to combat human trafficking. Nine others and Washington, D.C. were ranked as Tier 2, and two others as Tier 3. Find out how your state ranked here.

While these rankings do demonstrate the strides the United States has made in terms of human trafficking litigation, we still have a ways to go, both domestically and abroad.  The U.S. State Department’s anti-trafficking office is currently without leadership after Luis CdeBaca, the Ambassador-At-Large to Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP), stepped down last November. And while there has been some litigation on the international level, much of that was pushed by the United States. If human trafficking takes a back seat here, the movement may lose momentum elsewhere.

The information we’ve included above is just the beginning. If you’re looking for in-depth information and statistics, check out the State Department’s official Trafficking in Person’s Report or UNODC’s Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.

 

Join the Conversation & Stay Involved

After you do your research, the next step is to join the conversation. You can do this in a few ways:

  • Sign petitions and speak with your local and state government representatives: Petitions like this one urge congress to pass legislation to fight human trafficking in 2015. If you’re concerned about human trafficking on the more local level, get in touch with your local or state representatives, or start a petition of your own using a resource like change.org.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local paper: Raise community awareness by writing a letter to the editor of your local paper. Provide information about human trafficking, urge others to be aware of the signs, and give potential victims the information that they need to seek help

When you’re talking about human trafficking, place a significant focus on sensitivity. Victims have often experienced a great deal of trauma, and their experiences are varied and nuanced. Be careful not to sensationalize the issue, or to indicate that all victims have had the same experience. If you aren’t a thoughtful advocate, your words could hurt rather than help.

 

Recognize the Signs & Speak Up

Human trafficking could be happening right in front of you, though victims are often unable to speak up. It’s crucial that we recognize the red flags and indicators and then get victims the help that they need. Polaris Project has developed a list of these potential signs based on their extensive experience in working with victims of human trafficking. The State Department also provides a list of indicators, along with the follow-up questions you should ask potential victims, if or when given the opportunity.

If you think you’ve identified a trafficking victim, the next step is to speak up:

If you think someone may be in immediate danger, call 911. In non-emergency cases, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-3737-888, or text “INFO” or “HELP” to BeFree (233733). The hotline operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

As much as it might seem like the right thing to do, do not attempt to rescue a victim yourself – it may be unsafe for you as well as for the victim. It can also be difficult to gauge how the trafficker or the victim will react, and there may be more to the story than you are able to discern. Once you make the call to report what you know, trained professionals will take it from there.

 

Be a Conscientious Consumer

Every time you make a purchase, you can help reduce demand for forced labor, child labor, and exploitative labor practices. According to the ILO, of the 21 million reported trafficking victims worldwide, 14.2 million are victims of labor exploitation. This means that unless you take steps to inform yourself and adjust your purchasing behavior, you may be supporting unfair or forced working conditions by making a simple purchase.

Start with the U.S. Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor. The list covers a range of goods produced by countries all over the world, indicating whether or not they are typically produced using child labor or forced labor. You can also find out your own consumption of goods produced by forced labor with this Slavery Footprint survey. Then, just be conscientious and do your research. Shop locally rather than supporting big corporations, and ask questions about the products you’re purchasing. 

 

Contribute to an Anti-Trafficking Organization

Many of the organizations that work tirelessly to combat trafficking are currently underfunded and understaffed. They need funds to generate awareness around human trafficking, to expand their programs, and to provide hands-on support to victims. Consider making a direct donation or fundraising in support of a anti-trafficking organization. If you're not sure where to start, consult the list above for ideas.

And if you’re committed to combatting human trafficking in the long-term, think about volunteering for an organization in your area. These organizations’ small teams are often largely (or even entirely) comprised of passionate volunteers who could greatly benefit from your skills and your time. Lastly, stay involved – what the anti-trafficking movement needs most is long-term advocates.

 

Right now is a critical time to take action against human trafficking; and if you have other ideas or initiatives, we will help you to spread the word.

Do you know of an anti-trafficking group that’s making a big difference in your area? Let us know by commenting below, or reaching out on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram

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Why Shopping Small Business Matters

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Why Shopping Small Business Matters

by Kate Vandeveld

Lately, we’ve been talking a lot about how you can make a difference during the holiday season – from making more sustainable choices, to purchasing gifts that give back, to shopping small business. And while most of us know that shopping at small businesses is a good thing, we may not entirely know why.

shopsmall

Here are a few of the key reasons why shopping small business is so important:

 

Boosts Your Local Economy

Buying from small, local businesses boosts the economy in smaller towns, and creates job opportunities in places that need it. In fact, small business job growth is huge: Over the past decade, small businesses have generated over 63 percent of the net new jobs available in the United States, and currently employ almost half of the nation’s workforce. Because small businesses are more likely to purchase their products from domestic manufacturers, by shopping local, you are supporting jobs not just in your own community, but in small towns across the country.

Economy

In addition, when you shop at small businesses, you are investing in your local community. When you shop at small businesses, around 68 percent of what you spend will stay in your local economy, versus the 43 percent that stays local when you shop elsewhere. If residents of an “average” American city shifted 10 percent of their spending to local businesses, it would mean an influx of over $235 million into that community’s local economy. Imagine what a difference that would make!

 

Takes a Stand for Human Rights

When you buy locally, you can take steps to make sure that the products you are buying are not being made by exploited or abused workers. You can ask questions about whether or not small business products were made locally, and where exactly they were made. In addition, 85 percent of small business owners pay all of their employees more than the minimum wage, so it is more likely that you will be supporting fair wages when you shop local. In a recent poll, two out of three small business owners supported increasing the federal minimum wage, as well as readjusting it yearly to keep up with increased cost of living.

humanrights

On the flipside, shopping small means you won’t be supporting large corporations like Walmart. When you shop at these large corporations, it’s very possible that you will be purchasing products that were made in inhumane conditions, where workers are overworked and underpaid, and sometimes forced to work in unsafe conditions. Walmart employees themselves are overworked and underpaid, so much so that this year, workers protested against the corporation on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. The union-backed labor campaign OUR Walmart launched a nationwide strike against the corporation, asserting that they aren’t paid enough to make ends meet. Their demands are simple and fair: they want the option of consistent, full-time work and a wage of $15/hour. These negative working conditions aren’t exclusive to Walmart; large corporations are more likely to pay their workers less than small businesses. 

 

Has a Positive Environmental Impact

Environment

Small businesses have “a deep connection to their communities’ and environments’ needs, and therefore often have an incentive to be good stewards of their surrounding environment.” Because locally-owned businesses generally make their own purchases locally (or at least domestically) as well, they have less of a negative environmental impact when transporting their goods. On the other hand, large corporations almost always get their goods from further away. This means that they frequently rely on aircraft transport, which has greater fuel consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions per mile than any other mode of transport.

Large food corporations also commonly use a great deal more (non-recyclable!) packaging than small farms and grocery stores. Every single day, the average American produces over four pounds of waste, much of which comes from food packaging. By buying food from your local grocery store, you can opt for foods with less packaging and therefore, create less waste. 

 

Builds Your Local Community

Local business owners are often more invested in your community’s future. So when you support them, you’re investing in the prosperity of your city.  Throughout the United States, only about 34 percent of the revenue from national chains is reinvested into the community, versus 65 percent from local businesses. This means that almost double the amount of the money that you spend at small, local businesses goes directly back into your community. Small businesses are also much more likely to give back, donating 250 percent more to local non-profit organizations and community causes than large corporations.

community

Beyond their economic contributions, small businesses also support and foster a sense of community that large corporations simply cannot. Small business owners connect and work with one another, and are much more likely to actually care about their customers and the products that they are selling them. Because of this, customer service is often stronger at small businesses. For us, and many others, shopping small business tends to be a much friendlier and higher quality experience. 

 

If you want to take a step further, you can shop at small businesses that are focused on social impact – we provide some great examples in our holiday gift guide.

So when you’re finishing up your gift shopping this holiday season, keep this in mind: shopping small business is worth it, for the environment, the economy, and your local community.

What are some of your favorite small businesses? We want to make sure the world knows about them! Share with us in the comments below, or get in touch on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram

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