Human RightsPhoto Credit: International Life Line

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms to which every person is entitled including the rights to life,liberty, and personal safety, security from violence, and freedom from slavery and discrimination.  Ensuring that all humans receive their rights is not possible as long as our economic system is driven solely by the profit motive.

The Key Word is Human

Every human is entitled to receive basic freedoms and to live under conditions that ensure a high quality of life. Human rights guarantee individuals the ability to:

  • Seek an education
  • Earn a living wage
  • Live and work in safety
  • Protect themselves from violence and hazards
  • Manage their local ecosystems

All people must be equally afforded these basic human rights, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, social status, or economic position. When human rights are upheld, humanity is able to fosterhealthy communities and work toward higher goals like global peace and prosperity.

Protecting human rights means:

  • Preventing those in power from subjugating others politically, socially or legally
  • Providing humans with the conditions necessary to pursue prosperity, health and happiness
  • Ensuring everyone has a voice in the political process and in the creation of a civil society

But people everywhere experience all sorts of discrimination and violation of these basic rights. Race, ethnicity, and social status are all troubling issues throughout the world, resulting in a multitude of negative outcomes.

Profit-Driven Violations

Our fast consumption economy contributes mightily to human rights violations. To produce inexpensive goods for the market, companies violate human dignities all throughout the extraction and production phases. For instance:

  • Governments sell ancestral lands to large corporations, forcing indigenous peoples to relocate.
  • Many large corporations discourage or prohibit the formation of unions and labor groups to prevent factory employees from banding together to change their employment conditions.
  • Factories and sweatshops workers are marginalized based on gender, ethnicity, religion, race, or social status.

As long as the drive for profit outweighs the need to treat humans with dignity, our economic system cannot support human rights.

Grow an Ethical Consumption Model

Like the anti-slavery movement in the US centuries ago, the ethical consumption movement in today’s market has the potential to truly transform the way goods are produced and consumed. And ethical companies like Hearts are leading the way.

We adhere to ethical standards provided by fair trade organizations to ensure human rights are honored and upheld. That means no child labor, no slavery or human trafficking, and fair wages and working conditions. We also support cooperatives that empower entire communities.

But here’s the really good news: over 10 years, shareholders of companies that honor human rights standards receive ana verage of 63.5% greater returns.[i]Ethical companies that uphold human rights standards tend to out perform competitors, despite the fact that they must charge higher prices in order to meet ethical demands. Ultimately doing the right thing simply makes good business sense.

So put your dollars where your heart is and support human rights. By directing your purchasing power through eco shopping,you help transform the economic system for the good.

To find out more about Human Rights, dive deeper.

World Issue - Human Rights -

[i] Sourcing Standards: Concerns forInvestors. (2004, September).Retrieved April 23, 2012, from Amalgamated Bank, Christian Brothers InvestmentServices, Connecticut Pension and Retirement System, Interfaith Center forCorporate Responsibility, and New York City Employees Retirement System: