One of my all-time favorite themes is how we shape the world through our very actions. I believe that today this is more relevant than ever, with the current pandemic and all the impacts it has. So here I remind you of the biggest means you have in shaping our future world.
You are the influencer
It is true: we as individuals have an enormous impact on the world. It’s funny how we call social media presences with a following influencers, because in reality we can all have a gigantic influence. It may not always feel like it, but we can and we do. This is of course exactly where these so-called influencers get their influence: from you! It’s your influence and it’s time to start owning it.
Today I want to talk about one thing that has a gigantic influence in our world: money. It is said to make the world go around. More accurately put: money itself goes around the world, endlessly, and it drives human action everywhere it goes. Money does not sit still – unless it is tucked away under your mattress, as I’m guessing most of yours isn’t.
Heck, even the money you’re not spending is not sitting still. If your savings are in the bank, your bank is not just babysitting it, but it is using it in all the ways that they seem fit. They invest your money, mostly for their own company profits, thereby deeply impacting the world. How they spend your money depends on their business model and their ethics.*
The journey your money makes
So, money goes places, what’s the big deal?
It is vital to realise how spending money shapes the future. In the current times of crisis in which money is tight for many, it is even more important to consider the impact of your spending.
Spending money is like voting for the company you spend it at. Think about it: if you spend money on a product or service, you are basically rewarding the company behind it and encouraging them to continue what they’re doing.
And this is absolutely great if it’s a great company with great ethics, or whatever you value in the world. But if it’s a company that’s just in it for the money, it isn’t great.
In case of the latter, the company likely makes decisions to maximise their profits while neglecting other aspects like their environmental impact or working conditions of their employees. And you, as an unknowing customer, are supporting this company and their (lack of) ethics by buying from them.
But if you decide to spend your money on ethical companies, the impact the money will have will be much better. The company itself does its best to have the best possible impact in the world, so this is what you support and what you allow to grow. And it even goes much further, because this company is alsore more likely to work with employees and partners that have high ethical standards too.
Your money does not stop after you bought one product; it continues to flow. So next up, after your spending, your money is redistributed to the company’s suppliers, their employees, and other partners they work with. An ethical company is likely to seek ethical partners too, who continue to do their best to work with quite ethical people. And so it continues.
Now of course this isn’t so simple and black and white, but it is true, and it means that your spending behaviour can have a huge impact. So with a little care, you can intentionally use your money in a way that creates a brighter future!
An unequal playing field
Also, it is relevant to realise that big well-established multinationals enjoy all kinds of benefits that come with operating on a large scale. Simply put, this will often allow for lower costs per product and thus lead to lower prices or larger profit margins. And it comes with larger negotiating powers, meaning that large multinationals have the power to put pressure on their partners, for example force their suppliers to produce for unreasonably low prices. Big multinationals are also likely to enjoy all kinds of tax benefits, which further maximises their profits.
These things make it harder for small businesses to establish themselves in the market. The current Covid crisis has made it worse.
Due to the crisis, in 2020 the wealthiest people in the world have become even more wealthy. The biggest companies of the world have become bigger and their CEOs have become richer than ever. The world’s wealth distribution has become even more unequal than it already was.
It also seems that governments have spent more money on supporting huge multinational companies than on supporting small-scale businesses. (Which makes you wonder, well, a lot of things.) On the other side, small and medium business are hit disproportionately hard in the Covid crisis.
This is something to consider when using your money! Because what exactly are you supporting when buying from these multinationals?
Of course, this is not to say that large companies are always less ethical than small companies. It is mostly to say that large and huge companies have more bargaining power and they sure know how to use it for their own benefits. One could argue that multinationals run the world.
The question for us customers to consider is: what do we want to support?
Now is the time: spend your money where your values are
So now is the time, more than ever, to support the companies that you wish will survive the crisis and even thrive in the future. Now is the time to shape our future economy!
Please remember to spend your money at companies who share your values and who implement them in their business. When you can, consider shopping at smaller (local) companies instead of supporting the largest and wealthiest multinationals of the world. And of course, do your own research to find out which companies you wish to support and which companies you don’t.
If you’re still doing Christmas shoppings, enjoy! By the way, my view on gift giving hasn’t changed much in six years and one day. (And I still write my posts on shopping in late December. 😉 )
And of course I wish you very happy and healthy holidays!
* And the money in the bank? It is ridiculously easy to make sure your savings go places you like: by choosing an ethical bank! They will then use it according to their and your values, in your name.