A Guide to Ethical Souvenir Shopping – Impact Travel Alliance

by Ashley Hubbard

There’s nothing incorrect with returning residence from a visit with one thing particular to memorialize your expertise, however there are extra sustainable choices than the memento present store on the airport. If you’re in search of a souvenir or a present to buy for somebody again residence, take into consideration what, why, and from whom you’re buying.  This is step one to moral memento buying.

The world memento business is price billions of {dollars}. “According to Technavio Research Report, ‘Gifts Novelty and Souvenirs Market is witnessed to grow USD 16.33 billion, at a CAGR of 5% from 2019 to 2023.’” This is implausible as a result of it offers very important revenue to individuals who want it, significantly in nations the place tourism is considered one of their largest financial industries.

Unfortunately, it is usually a largely unregulated business and for each moral memento, there are a number of extra unethical ones available on the market.

As acutely aware shoppers and vacationers, we’d like to take into consideration these items earlier than we begin shopping for souvenirs to take residence with us. This could be among the finest, best, and, let’s face it, enjoyable strategies to help and study communities and cultures.

As with something in consumerism, there’s a massive problem with determining how and the place to break the cycle.

Locally made vs. imported

Getting as shut as attainable to the supply of manufacturing is an effective way to start serious about moral memento buying.

Always try to help native producers, makers and artisans. The cash goes again into the fast group, the environmental footprint is drastically minimize due to decreased transportation, and you can too typically get monetary savings for the next high quality product. 

Ethical souvenir shopping
A guide to ethical souvenir shopping - impact travel alliance | latest news live | find the all top headlines, breaking news for free online april 7, 2021

Everything is related

Even belongings you wouldn’t consider can have an effect on the memento business. For instance, be sure that your wildlife watching trip is operated responsibly. Think twice about souvenirs produced from native assets — for instance, a coral necklace is fairly, however it’s detrimental to remove coral from the ocean

Instead, choose to take part in excursions that profit conservation and anti-poaching campaigns by funding patrols, serving to change group attitudes in the direction of wildlife, and offering employment to locals. You can often discover some nice souvenirs that help the trigger as properly!

Is it moral to haggle?

Haggling actually will depend on the place you’re on the earth. In some nations, if you happen to haggle, you could be checked out as if you happen to’re dropping your thoughts. However, haggling in some nations is quite common and anticipated. 

Since it’s a regular a part of buying in some nations, it’s greatest to analysis the vacation spot you’re going to be in to discover out.

It additionally comes down to how you haggle. Are you doing it in a means that’s pleasant banter or are you really driving a tough cut price to save a few bucks?

Another factor to keep in mind is that if you happen to’re buying at a co-operative, they’ll typically promote regionally produced items. This is nice as the cash goes again into the group, however this isn’t the place to haggle as this stuff could have fastened costs. To discover a co-operative or social enterprise, you should utilize a useful resource like Grassroots Volunteering’s Social Enterprise Database.

Tourism Concern affords a superb guideline: “Tourists sometimes feel that they need to drive a hard bargain, but local people need to make a living so people should expect to pay a fair price  – not the lowest possible. Haggle too hard and you could cause real suffering to traders already living hand-to-mouth.” 

When unsure, at all times heed native recommendation as to whether or not haggling is culturally applicable or not!

Souvenirs to keep away from fully, and what to buy as an alternative 

Animal merchandise

Souvenirs act as an enduring reminiscence and so they are available in all shapes, sizes, and types. But, they need to not come on the expense of human rights, the setting, and, after all, an animal’s life.

While there are worldwide insurance policies and laws, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) defending animal species from this precise state of affairs, it clearly doesn’t repair it fully and there may be nonetheless a low consciousness relating to the problematic nature of animal souvenirs. 

Animal memento merchandise will fluctuate from nation to nation and the way they’re offered. Some could also be apparent and a few could also be offered within the type of harmless-wanting gadgets akin to jewellery and clothes.

A guide to ethical souvenir shopping - impact travel alliance | latest news live | find the all top headlines, breaking news for free online april 7, 2021A guide to ethical souvenir shopping - impact travel alliance | latest news live | find the all top headlines, breaking news for free online april 7, 2021
Hawksbill Sea Turtle in The Exumas, Bahamas by Ashley Hubbard

We’ve included an inventory of widespread animal memento merchandise and what to look out for.

  • Ivory (or different animals’ bones)
    • The excellent news is that most individuals notice how horrible ivory is and the way it’s acquired. While ivory just isn’t typically discovered as simply or almost as fashionable because it as soon as was, it’s nonetheless on the market and you have to be conscious of it. 
    • The demand for ivory correlates with poaching and pushing elephants in the direction of extinction.
  • Shark tooth (or different animals’ tooth)
    • Sharks have been round for hundreds of thousands of years and their tooth fossilize.  However, the tooth take fairly a while to fossilize – assume 1000’s of years.  Therefore – at all times, at all times get fossilized tooth and never trendy tooth.  Buying trendy shark tooth solely feeds the demand for sharks to be needlessly hunted and murdered for the horrific shark commerce. Here’s how to spot the difference.
    • Also, attempting to find shark tooth and understanding you discovered them and that the tooth are from sharks which have been lifeless for who is aware of how lengthy is a lot cooler than supporting a horrible business. Here’s a useful information on ethically “hunting” for shark teeth.
  • Tortoiseshells
    • The tortoiseshell sample is gorgeous which made it extremely popular for jewellery, sun shades, hair clips, and so forth. This together with its potential to mildew very comparable to plastic led to the hawksbill sea turtle being hunted to a standing of critically endangered. 
    • Hawksbill sea turtles are the ocean turtles with the traditional “tortoiseshell” sample and regardless of it being unlawful to promote, purchase, or transport in most nations, they’re nonetheless hunted. 
    • According to WWF, “despite their current protection under (CITES) and many national laws, there is still a disturbingly large amount of illegal trade in hawksbill shells and products.”
    • Utilize Too Rare to Wear as an excellent useful resource.
  • Reptile skins
    • The pores and skin from snakes and crocodiles is often used for footwear, hats, belts, purses, and drums. Snakes are sometimes caught within the wild and slaughtered for his or her skins and most crocodiles are bred on farms, in unnatural and overcrowded situations, for his or her meat and skins (due to being endangered).
  • Furs 
    • Typically utilized in clothes gadgets, animal furs may also be present in trinkets and good luck charms. Furs will probably be obtained from wild animals which are endangered or from fur farms that are nearly at all times in appalling situations and skinned alive. Additionally, the kind of fur on the label oftentimes isn’t even that animal and, in lots of of those instances, are cats and canines. 
    • A good instance of this is able to be a shahtoosh which is a standard scarf woven within the Himalayas. If you’re touring to Tibet or Nepal, keep away from shopping for something fabricated from chiru wool as it’s produced from the wool of the Tibetan antelope (chiru) which is now labeled as endangered for this precise cause.
  • Medicinal makes use of
    • Wildlife merchandise, together with endangered species, are used for medication or aphrodisiacs. 
    • These have included bears’ gallbladders and bile, tiger and leopard bones, glands from musk deer, horns from antelopes, rhino horns, and extra. 
    • While this isn’t essentially a typical memento, it’s nonetheless one thing to concentrate on when touring. 
  • Coral and seashells

It’s necessary to notice that many Indigenous traditions incorporate pure assets into their practices and artifacts. Travelers can respectfully study these traditions and draw inspiration from them, however think about the assets used when serious about the souvenirs you’re buying. Just as a result of a useful resource is a vital a part of a Native custom doesn’t imply that it’s an moral memento buy. 

Historical artifacts

Does it appear to be it got here from a temple, church, synagogue, or mosque? If so, it was most likely meant to keep there. Historic non secular facilities are widespread targets of traffickers from South America to Europe and Asia.

Endangered or Synthetic Materials

  • Rare woods, for instance:
    • Belizean rosewood (native to Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico) is the bottom of musical devices and decorations offered to vacationers. It has significance in conventional Maya tradition and the over-harvesting destroys forest ecosystems and exposes coral reefs to damaging sediment runoff. 
  • Synthetic or different non-pure clothes and textiles, which come at a excessive value for individuals and the planet.
    • As an instance, this would come with cheaply made t-shirts.

Live vegetation

  • Not solely may taking dwell vegetation trigger hurt to the native setting, however there may be additionally the hazard they are going to harbor pests and illness which might pose an enormous risk to the ecosystem again residence.
  • In the US alone, gross sales of cacti and succulents surged 64% between 2012 and 2017; a market that’s now estimated to be worth tens of millions.
  • The Guardian reported, “Across the southwest, cacti are being stolen from public lands in increasing numbers. From soaring saguaros to tiny, rare species favored as indoor house plants, the booming global demand for cacti is driving a shadowy, underground trade that’s difficult to police. Moreover, experts say, such trends risk destroying sensitive species forever.”
Ethical souvenir shoppingEthical souvenir shopping
A guide to ethical souvenir shopping - impact travel alliance | latest news live | find the all top headlines, breaking news for free online april 7, 2021

Steps to shopping for moral souvenirs

The excellent news is that it’s pretty straightforward to buy moral souvenirs. A few suggestions:

  1. Read concerning the cultural, social, and political background of the place you’re about to go to. It additionally wouldn’t harm to learn a few basic words in their language.
  2. Buy regionally and straight from the maker if attainable. 
  3. Pay a good value. As Ethical Traveler states, “a few rupees, baht or pesos one way or another is not going to ruin you.”
  4. Ask questions on how the merchandise was made and the place gadgets had been sourced from. 
  5. Avoid memento-solely outlets, and search out distinctive, hidden gems. Souvenir outlets are often fairly apparent. They’ve obtained each attainable merchandise with the placement’s title or different descriptive issue imprinted on it. These outlets will purchase merchandise from the makers however upsell the merchandise dramatically or they’re promoting mass-produced merchandise that always aren’t even made in that nation. That’s not even actually a memento at that time. Seeking out a retailer that’s one-of-a-variety means you’re additionally extra doubtless to rating a singular memento!
  6. Avoid mass-produced gadgets —extra of your tourism {dollars} will keep native when buying regionally made items. Jeff Greenwald, government director of EthicalTraveler.org explains: “Never buy anything made in China—unless you actually are in China.” Also, if you happen to see the identical precise souvenirs in each store, they’re doubtless to be mass-produced and imported. 
  7. Consider how your buy could be an funding to the group. Supporting native, group-based mostly tourism efforts is an effective way to maintain your tourism {dollars} within the vacation spot. Take a while to analysis wealth distribution, and keep away from conspicuous shows of wealth as this will intensify the hole between monetary statuses.
  8. Remember, it’s not a cut price if both particular person feels exploited, diminished, or ripped off.
  9.  And, lastly, if you happen to doubt it, don’t purchase it!

Do we even want to purchase souvenirs?

Most people like to have one thing to keep in mind their journey. It’s change into commonplace for images to change into probably the most moral memento, not to point out it saves you cash in the long term. Just make sure you’re taking images ethically as properly. Check out the beneath video to study extra about decolonizing journey images.

A guide to ethical souvenir shopping - impact travel alliance | latest news live | find the all top headlines, breaking news for free online april 7, 2021

However, there’s nothing incorrect with wanting extra tangible souvenirs to take residence and it could additionally put cash straight into the local people which may be very helpful. 

It’s higher to spend money on one thing that issues, that you simply join with, that can make it to your wall or shelf, and never simply thrown right into a field. 

So, the quick reply is we don’t want to purchase souvenirs, however there’s nothing incorrect with it if finished in an moral style.

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