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Where to Buy Ethical Tech
Early last year, I discussed the ethics problems in the tech industry. For conscious bloggers, tech is the elephant in the room. We need access to reasonable quality smart phones, laptops, and cameras to do our work, yet there are very few ethical options available.
For myself, I look for refurbished tech before buying new and, as a result both my camera and my iPhone were purchased used. It’s more economical and doesn’t contribute to demand for new products. Sure, I might not have the newest, fanciest gadgets, but they still work really well and I saved some money, too.
I did feel the need to purchase my laptop new this year. I’d used the last one – an HP loaded with Windows Vista – for ten years before it became so sluggish I could no longer get any work done.
I went with a new Mac because it seemed my best bet was to purchase a computer that could last me another ten years rather than risk an older, refurbished model crashing on me. This, too, was a decision made with ethics – in this case, longevity – in mind, though it didn’t give the same consideration to labor issues.
The important thing, like I mentioned in my recent Ethical Purity post, is to give some thought to our decisions before making them. It’s an imperfect system, so we do what we can. (I recommend Newegg and B&H Photo for guaranteed quality, refurbished tech.)
That being said, it’s comparably easier to find ethical tech accessories. I’ve rounded up a list of items you can purchase from companies that support fair labor and consideration toward sustainability…
Sustainable and eco-dyed at a family factory in India. Vegan leather and cotton. (This is the laptop case featured in the first photo of this post.)
Handcrafted leather goods, made fairly.
A large selection of laptop sleeves and other tech accessories made by small scale artisans.
Sleeves and bags made sustainably from old billboards.
Better Life Bags
Design-your-own bags made in the USA by women with barriers to employment.
USA made nylon, padded sleeves.
High quality, USA made wood tablet sleeves.
The Bird Tales
Hand knit sleeves for iPads.
Sustainable and fair leather tablet pouches.
Biodegradable, non-plastic, ethically made.
Folios and cases made from old billboards.
USA made wood cases.
Genesis Fair Trade
Fair trade, hand embroidered iPhones in authentic, Yucatecan Maya designs.
Sustainably harvested wood cases, made in USA.
BACKPACKS AND TOTE BAGS
Made with ethically sourced, handmade textiles.
Sustainable and ethically produced canvas, nylon, and leather bags.
United by Blue
Sustainable and ethically produced laptop bag.
Traceable and ethical.
Ten Thousand Villages
Fair trade work and computer bag.
Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.