Corporations (and the people that run them) contribute millions of dollars every year to funding political parties. And the unfortunate reality is that a lot of this spending is done quietly, with many companies pandering to consumers, branding themselves one way without actually walking the walk. How are we as busy consumers supposed to know what's really going on? Cue Progressive Shopper, the online helper that can shed some light on your buying.
Based in the U.S., Progressive Shopper is a free-to-use site that collects data from The Federal Election Commission and contextualises that data so that anyone can easily see where (and who) their money is going to.
While we're yet to see an Australian version, if you're like us then you often shop international brands. The site may also be specific to where the companies are donating within the U.S., but it's important to remember that U.S. politics have wider-world repercussions.
So, how does it work? Simply type in a brand, and if it's a more well-known company then the information should be available. You'll be shown the figures around their spending and also some related brands that you may be interested in swapping out.
Progressive Shopper breaks brands down into three categories: Blue, Purple and Red. Companies that give 60% or more of their annual political funding to Democratic parties are blue, while companies that primarily donate to Republicans fall in the red. Purple companies are the in-betweeners, usually giving about an equal amount of money to both parties.
Beyond just which parties brands are funding, Progressive Shopper also tracks the social issues that they support, including gun control, LGBTQ+ rights, and environmental responsibility which is a game-changer.
As politics become increasingly divisive, it's important to stay informed about what we're contributing to on an individual level. Where you shop matters, so try if you can to support the platforms that resonate with your own values.
We understand that affordability and ethical manufacturing don't always align, but there are lots of ways that we can do our part so get to researching. Who knows, you may even find a new favourite brand.