5 Steps to Being a Conscious Consumer
When you go shopping for any item whether it’s food, clothing or a spic ‘n span frying pan, what are your key considerations? First you might recognise a brand and default to advertising induced action, next you may eye out the price tag deciding if it’s within budget or worth the money, lastly you may check the quality or flip it over to scan the ingredients before popping it into your trolley.
During your purchasing process, how often do you stop and ponder the ethics behind your purchases?
For many of us, and especially those from the older generations or less fortunate strata of society, conscious consumerism is not top of our list when we hit the supermarket aisles.
Too often we are buying to fulfill a personal need, focusing on what our money is giving us rather than on where our money is going to.
But it’s becoming more and more apparent that as commercial super powers continue to colonize Earth, the quality of life for all species on our planet is plummeting at alarming rates. That’s because these merciless giants which we support with every cent spent, thrive on a diet of mass rain forest deforestation, unfair trade, animal cruelty and child labour – to name just a few of their horrific hors d’oeuvre of choice.
And so, in retaliation, as social media illuminates global issues and more and more of us are becoming aware, a new consciousnesses is emerging in the retail space – conscious consumerism.
Essentially, conscious consumerism focuses on making positive decisions throughout the buying process, with the intention of helping to balance some of the negative impacts that consumerism has on the planet. – startups.co.uk
When we spend, we’re aware not only of what our money gives us but also of what our money gives to others (and who).
Key Characteristics of Conscious Consumers
So what does it mean to be a conscious consumer? As with most movements, there’s a lot of debate over whether small changes can make a difference on a large scale. And conscious consumers in some cases are receiving criticism as a privileged minority who can afford to put an enviable price tag on their humanitarian efforts and show this off on Insta. You know the not-so-subtle shot of a model bodied lady sipping a green smoothie through a bamboo straw while fanning about in a hemp bikini? Yeah, that one.
But I’d say no press is bad press. Despite the haters, the movement is fast gaining popularity around the globe. In fact:
According to the Nielsen Global Survey of Corporate Social Responsibility report published in 2015, three out of four Millenials were willing to pay more for sustainable products. – startups.co.uk
Every purchase is seen as a vote in favour of companies which share your value and are doing their bit to save the planet (or at least heavily minimize or reverse ill effects).
Have you heard about Earth Overshoot Day? Find out here why it’s an important day in the conscious consumer’s calendar.
5 Steps to Being a Conscious Consumer
So how can you do your bit to purchasing more positively? Check out these ideas below:
- Do your research – before you buy a product, hit up Google to find out about that brand’s business practices and ethics.
- Select products that are labeled as Fair Trade – this means there is a fair trade agreement in which fair prices are paid to the producers.
- Buy local – support small businesses, start to shift the placement of power on our planet to the hands of those who truly care.
- Recycle, make your own natural products, or buy items with minimal or no packaging – gain inspiration from fast growing trends to hit South Africa like Nude Foods in Cape Town.
- Give to companies that give back in someway – check out these South African benefactor brands and start compiling your own list.
Remember that no act is too small.
Leading by example we encourage others to become conscious consumers as well and help raise the collective consciousness of our entire globe one penny at a time. Contact us and we will team you up with South African NPO’s using their change to change the world.