By now, you may have begun to make changes to your lifestyle and spending habits in order to make a positive difference to the world, instead of simply upholding the status quo. You may have switched to reusable shopping bags and coffee cups, and even changed where you shop or how you travel. This may have sparked your interest, like many Moelocans, in starting a social enterprise or other socially responsible career path. Sometimes, the cause we want to devote our careers to isn’t so clear, so here are five booming ethical industries with room for more entrepreneurs and outstanding employees.
Ecotourism: Australia’s Ethical Industry
As tourism is one of Australia’s biggest industries, earning us $41.2 billion from September 2016-17, we have the potential to lead the way in turning ecotourism from a niche into a given. Much of our income and employment from tourism is dependent on our natural wonders, placing us in a unique position to educate the world on the importance of sustainable travel. Since 1991, Ecotourism Australia has been evaluating and regulating tourism-based businesses to transform it into an ethical industry. The ideal that it sets is an experience of our natural wonders that incorporates active conservation, education and respect for our indigenous cultures. While it is still rare for services to hit all three marks, we are making progress even in luxury ecotourism. Sal Salis and their $1300 per night tents at Ningaloo Reef is just one of the businesses to earn Ecotourism Australia’s approval.
Social and Care Work
Social and care work is a vital industry in Australia, providing much-needed support to Australians who are significantly disabled, aged or seriously ill, as well as their families. It also has countless opportunities for volunteer work, if you aren’t looking to switch careers. For example, ACON’s Community Support Network recruits volunteers to assist elderly Australians with HIV in their daily lives.
While renewable energy still doesn’t make up the same share of electricity in Australia as, say, New Zealand or Costa Rica, it is still a rapidly growing ethical industry. Despite ongoing criticism in both the government and media, the percentage of electricity from renewable sources rose to 17% in 2017, up from 7% in 2007. If that 17% went into only our homes, it would cover 70% of Australian houses.
At Moeloco, we see the profound difference that education makes to a person’s energy, both as individuals and to the impact they can make on the world. Even though the rate of registered teachers is growing in Australia by 1% every year, the number of school students is expected to rise by 26% by 2022. Many graduates of teaching degrees choose different careers, and 20% of teachers leave their role within five years, so there is a great need for qualified teachers in Australia. If you are already a teacher, or studying to become one, the HOPE Foundation (our partner organisation) welcomes those with teaching skills as volunteers in their Kolkata facilities. Teaching may be one of the more traditional ethical industries, but is no less rewarding.
Ideally, any industry can be ethical, once enough people begin to change it from the inside. Take our contributions to the fashion industry at Moeloco, for example. Many shoes are made in sweatshops with low wages and poor conditions, and do not contribute to making the world a better place. Our thongs (or flip flops, or jandals) are made in factories with fair working conditions, packed by an organisation supporting disabled workers, and donate one pair of school shoes per sale to a child who would otherwise have to go barefoot. From my own experiences, I know that changing an industry from the inside isn’t easy, but worth it.
Until next time,