It’s my view that this ethical spectrum is what we should be focusing on as vegan consumers. Much like I described in my master post on veganism, to me the lifestyle is about your best effort at upholding the principles at the heart of everything you do. That’s not about cheating. It’s about thinking and making informed choices.
What is the product you’re looking to buy? Food? A savings account? Shampoo? Mascara? Condoms? A washing machine? A sofa? Drugs? (Legal or otherwise?) There’s a lot to consider, whatever you’re consuming. What will you do with the product? Is it for you? For someone else? Are you using it or promoting it? Are you being paid to promote it? Do you need it or do you want it? How important are your ethical considerations? What do you know about who you’re buying from, and where your money is going?
All of this stuff matters, and is worth thinking about. Try to place your ‘dollar vote’ on a spectrum. Be aware that there are some REALLY bad apples out there: Unilever, Nestlé, Proctor & Gamble. I usually try to avoid these as best I can. There are also some pretty good apples out there, if you can find them. (N.B. I once worked with one of the co-founders of the Fair trade symbol and he was a problematic guy to say the least. I also experienced a fair ol’ bit of gross sexism in the co-op sector, so, remember that spectrum folks…)