Better World Shopping Guide

As I pointed out on my page, Jesus and Walmart, I believe God is interested in where we do our shopping.

Kingdom living isn’t about religious practices; it’s about practicing righteousness. It’s not about tithing but about how we spend the rest of our money. Why send a few dollars to promote missions in the third-world and then spend hundreds on under-priced goods made by its exploited citizenry?

We all want to earn a fair wage for our work and make a decent profit on what we produce. To afford others the same right is to obey Jesus when he said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”


The Better World Shopping Guide is a handy pocketbook (and website) compiled by Ellis Jones. Its humble goal is to “provide people with a comprehensive, up-to-date, reliable account of the social and environmental responsibility of every company on the planet.”

Jones and his staff grade over 1,000 companies on five key issues:

HUMAN RIGHTS: sweatshops, 3rd world community exploitation, international health issues, divestment, child labor, code of conduct.

THE ENVIRONMENT: global warming, rainforest destruction, pollution, recycling, renewable energy, toxic waste, sustainable farming.

ANIMAL PROTECTION: factory farming, animal testing, humane treatment, wild animal habitat.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: family farms, local business support, volunteer efforts, sustainable growth, philanthropic donations.

SOCIAL JUSTICE: fair wages, fatalities, union busting efforts, health & safety records, discrimination.

Each company receives a grade from “A” to “F” depending on how they measure up to these criteria. Their products and services are listed in alphabetical order, from Airlines to Wine. You can check the guide before you buy and choose to patronize companies that are better world citizens.

Jones points out that,

“The average American family spends around $18,000 each year on goods and services. Think of it as casting 18,000 votes every year for the kind of world you want to live in.”

This isn’t New Age Consciousness; it’s Old Fashioned Christianity.

3 thoughts on “Better World Shopping Guide

  1. I love your final sentence here, Mike!
    It is a shame that the church so often finds herself either following the world in actively living God’s justice–or worse, resisting in the name of good theology. I have been guilty of both. And I fear that I will continue to be guilty, but some of it is due to ignorance. So I am thankful for this pointer to what looks to be a big help.
    Also, I have copied your sentence about the irony of sending money to third world missions while spending even more on things that will hurt those who live there. I have made it my “quote of the week” ( I hope that’s okay.

    1. Thanks for commenting, KC, and for quoting me on your blog. I’m an imperfect practitioner of what I believe as well, but I’m trying to improve as I Stumble Toward Heaven.

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