EducationPhoto courtesy of Onken, Mitaro, & Eriksen

Ethical companies support educational programs for children and adults because education is one of the most powerful tools for reducing poverty and creating a more just and equal society. Humanity still has a long way to go before it can consider itself equally educated.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about primary or post-secondary education in developed or developing countries.There are huge disparities in how well our people are educated.

Education is a Cure-All

Education is the foundation for economic and social progress. People of all ages – from primary and secondary school students to adult learners – benefit from receiving a quality education and preserving their cultural knowledge. As education increases:

  • Health improves
  • Poverty subsides
  • Conflict and wars are minimized
  • The planet is preserved
  • Human rights are respected

Education is the key that unlocks countless other quality of life issues. Yet it is estimated that 67.5 million children lack access to quality education, most of them among the poorest in the world. So what are the barriers to receiving proper schooling? [i][ii][iii]

  • Expensive school fees, uniforms, and supplies
  • Lack of transportation for getting to and from school
  • No teachers because communities cannot afford to hire anyone
  • Racial, gender, and age discrimination
  • Lack of clean water and healthy food to nourish the brain

These are just a few of the barriers. The bottom line is that there is a direct relationship between lack of education and an increase in poverty rates. This pattern is seen in both the poorest and wealthiest nations. People who lack education are more likely to be poor, which restricts access to quality education, thus reinforcing low academic outcomes.

How a Profit-Centered Economy Contributes

Here it is in a nutshell. The demand for cheap goods sends transnational corporations looking for cheap labor. For people struggling with poverty, the choice is simple: employment over education. As a result, both adults and children suffer.

  • Over 150 million children worldwide between the ages of 5 and 15 go to work every day instead of school.[iv]
  • Adults work for low wages, sometimes for 80 hours a week to make enough to support their family. Consequently, they have no time for education to advance to higher paying jobs.[v]

As consumers, by demanding inexpensive goods, we only reinforce the problem.

Ethical Businesses Support Education

Don’t lose hope. Ethical companies like Hearts are changing the way we do business. The traditional fast consumption economic model isn’t the only way corporations can succeed. There are many innovative,responsible and ethical businesses that are not only turning a profit, but helping to create communities where education is both valued and encouraged.

These sustainable companies:

  • Prohibit child labor
  • Pay fair wages
  • Enforce reasonable work hours
  • Provide professional development opportunities for their employees
  • Value the preservation of traditional wisdom
  • Contribute to sustainable development projects in the communities where employees reside, constructing schools and providing uniforms and educational supplies
  • Support gender equality by encouraging the education of girls and women

Ethical consumerism is an important part of transforming the current economic paradigm. Your eco shopping habits push the fast fashion industry to be more sustainable.

By choosing products from ethical fashion instead of conventional fashion, you are telling companies that you want a system that values the health and well being of people and the planet we share. Education is the key that will drive the changes we so desperately need so, choose ethical businesses that value helping people, achieve more!

To get educated on the issue of education, submerge yourself.

World Issue - Education - hearts.com.pdf


[i]  Issue Brief: Education. (n.d.).Retrieved April 25, 2012, from ONE.org: http://www.one.org/c/us/issuebrief/93/

[ii] The Education of Girls in Africa. (2009). Retrieved April 25, 2012, from TheInternational Federation of University Women:http://www.ifuw.org/fuwa/docs/Education_of_Girls_Africa.pdf

[iv] Global Initiative onOut-of-School Children. (2007).Retrieved April 25, 2012, from UNICEF and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics:http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/files/Final_OOSC_Flyer.pdf

[v] Worstall, T. (2012, April 14). OlympicExploitation: The Sweatshops Making Adidas Clothes for the Games. RetrievedApril 26, 2012, from Forbes:http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2012/04/14/olympic-exploitation-the-sweatshops-making-adidas-clothes-for-the-games/