If you were under the (totally admirable) impression that the only way to express your social and political beliefs was through major gestures like the Women’s March on Washington or the Earth Day March for Science, we have some breaking news for you: Social activism efforts can be even simpler. While we would never discourage your supremely socially conscious selves from making your voice heard at major rallies, we’re happy to report that there are ways to show your support for (or against) particular causes day in and day out.
You know that old saying, “Put your money where your mouth is?” Spending your hard-earned cash with companies and organizations that are as committed to making a better world as you are is one way to make an impact — and Aspiration, a socially conscious financial startup, is making it even easier for you to do just that.
“More than ever, consumers want to vote with their dollar, but never before have they been able to see the daily impact of the decisions they make on where they shop and spend,” says Andrei Cherny, co-founder and CEO of Aspiration. “More and more Americans want to spend their money with brands that match their values.”
That’s where the Aspiration Impact Measurement score comes in. Known casually as AIM (no, not the instant messaging system that you once used as an outlet for your emo teenage feelings), these scores are calculated based on more than 75 thousand data points, accounting for everything from the way a company treats its employees and the percentage of women in leadership positions to the use of sustainable practices.
“AIM was created so that we can all use our everyday spending to demand that corporations act responsibly toward the environment and their employees,” Cherny says. “With Americans spending $36 billion a day, we feel that moving those dollars to eco-friendly and socially conscious businesses can make a big difference. It may not feel like buying your groceries at a store that treats employees and the environment better than other stores can make a large impact on the world, but every little bit helps.”
Most companies are resistant to being overly transparent about these kinds of issues, which is why Cherny says Aspiration developed the AIM algorithm. AIM scores are accessible through Aspirations’s app and pop up based on where you swipe your debit card.
For people without access to their AIM scores through the Aspiration app, Cherny’s main advice for socially conscious spending is to avoid making assumptions. “We can’t just make a guess about the ethics of the businesses where we spend our money based on their reputation or one-off incidents,” he says. As you make decisions about where to do your shopping, do as much research as you can about each company or brand, and check out their AIM score, if possible.
“Businesses pay attention when you choose to shop there — or not shop there — because of how they treat people and the planet,” Cherny advises. “All of us, as consumers, have much more power than we think.”
How do you put your money where your mouth is? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty and Aspiration)