“Any decision that has an impact on others now or in the future is an ethical choice,” explains ethicist and author, Christopher Gilbert in his book There’s No Right Way To Do the Wrong Thing.
When put this way, the world of ethical living is suddenly a whole lot larger.
Over the past few years, “ethical responsibility”has tipped from only holding corporations accountable for the state of the world, to highlighting the role of our individual choices. While factors such as moving away from unethical brands and taking steps towards zero waste at home will always remain important aspects of the conversation, it is equally important to consider the whole picture when it comes to the circulation of money. When we consider where our money sits before we spend it, how we save it and where it is invested, we realise that we have a lot more power to shape a more ethical world.
Our purchasing power goes beyond where we spend our money
As Gilbert says: “We can each take concrete steps to re-align our moral compasses, give ourselves control over fairness and equity and in the end, create the healthier world we actually want to live in.”
These concrete steps look different for everyone. For some, it’s looking beyond labels when buying clothes and other “fast” items; for others it is making everyday changes towards utilising more reusable materials. Whatever your starting point, it is a humbling experience and a privilege to recognise how our actions impact the world at large.
It is our responsibility to do the right thing – at least when we can.
We can get involved in the ethical circulation of money
To give ourselves more control over fairness and equity, it makes sense to dive deeper into the extent of our purchasing power. Once again, we have partnered with Algbra to delve into some out-of-the-box ways to live more ethically.
Algbra believes that, for too long, banking has been too much about the banks and not enough about people. Thus, their work revolves around bringing balance to the equation. Algbra is building a digital bank driven by the pursuit of a balanced world that aims to empower its users through ethical financial services. One of those services is ensuring that the way you spend, save and manage your day to day spending is as ethical as possible.
Choosing ethical banking is now easier than ever. Algbra defines ethical finance as one that “combines your money with your values.” They are showing how institutions have a key role in ensuring we live in a world where companies prioritise ethical practices. This entails a commitment to ensuring that your money isn’t invested into harmful activities and instead contributes to the betterment of the world at large. Ethical banking means giving back to the community, understanding their different needs and catering to them accordingly. At its best, ethical banking contributes to a more inclusive society through both internal practices and external programs.
Similar to banking, consider where your pension is being invested, especially if you are employed. Educate yourself on the different options available to you depending on your individual circumstances. Pension investment options – an overview is a great place to start your research. Consider where you want your money to grow as you work your way towards retirement.
There are small, more ethical choices you can make even while on holiday.
“Unfortunately, the reality is that the growth of travel and tourism over the last six decades or so has caused more harm than good. But by becoming more aware of the impact cheap package holidays, waste-pumping cruises, sprawling resorts – to name a few culprits – have on people, animals, and the environment, we’re taking one step closer to rethinking our travel habits and making travel better for everyone.”
When budgeting, take into account how ethical each of your purchases will be. Consider investing in activities, tour guides and transportation that are better for the economy you are travelling into and be mindful of paying fair prices to local vendors. Quality over quantity is a rule that extends further than material things and works as a great standard for ethical consumption.
For those in business, consider the positive impact of fair and timely compensation of your clients and employees. This ensures a healthy and ethical circulation of money and keeps people motivated to work towards individual and collective goals. When you receive your own paycheck, decide on a fair percentage to set aside for essentials, luxuries, charity and investments.
Through incentives of reward and the annual obligation to pay Zakat (annual tax on wealth), Islam teaches us the importance of the redistribution of wealth and a healthy detachment from material things. Many of us may set career or financial goals, however, by setting goals for charity throughout the year we can make the intention to purify our wealth regularly.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended.” Charity also increases the barakah (blessings) in our earnings and is another important intention to keep in mind as we give. Allah (swt) says: “Spend, O son of Adam, and I shall spend on you.’”
Talking about money can be taboo but when phrases like “healthy detachment” and “ethical spending” are attached to it, it can be even more difficult to discuss. However, ethical banking practices such as that of Algbra make it easier to align our money with our values, while contributing to a better world in the process. When put that way, money is suddenly easier to talk about as well. Algbra offers round-up donations to a number of UK charities and commits 10% of all of its profits to community causes.
*Sign-up to the Algbra early bird waiting list so you can be the first to join the app. You’ll also be the first to hear about their latest services, learn more about how to manage your money and grow your wealth in the process.
This article was written by a member of the Amaliah team or a collective team effort. You can follow us on @amaliah_tweets for the latest or head over to our Instagram @amaliah_com. If you're reading this and are thinking about contributing an article then send us an email with a brief or a full article to email@example.com