Every dollar you spend is a vote, creating a message to the seller to keep doing what they are doing and sending a message to other sellers that they did not win your business.

When you invest your money in a purchase, you are getting value in the thing you are purchasing as well as impacting the economy, environment and society. You are casting a vote for laborers when you buy products made using fair trade principles, which promise to pay workers a fair wage. You are casting a vote for the environment when you choose to buy a locally grown tomato over imported ones packed on Styrofoam, wrapped in plastic and shipped in from China.


It is not always obvious, and labels often don’t give us enough information – for example: Has this apple been irradiated? Does that matter to me? Is this movie popcorn popped in genetically modified transfats?

Like aiming darts at a dart board, each purchase can go towards your center goal while some stray – so long as you keep aiming to shop with your values in mind.

Three Ways to Bivest

1.) Positive Purchasing

Buy things not just for their innate value (eg. It is pretty, fast, shiny, tasty), but also keeping in mind external values that you care about (eg. local, environmental, fair trade). Before you buy, keep in mind that your purchase dollars are a vote for that kind of product to continue to be sold in that way.

2.) Negative Purchasing

Don’t buy things you do not approve of. Taking a breath before an impulse buy and ask yourself how this purchase will affect your health, the health of the environment and the health of the workers that produced it.

3.) Know your Seller

Buying something not only invests your money into the object you bought, it invests in the company that sold it. If you feel that a major retailer is spending too many millions of dollars lobbying against equal pay for women, you may not want to buy their product even if it is otherwise attractive. Feel free to congratulate or complain to their customer service so they can better understand how to serve your values.

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