You reduce, you reuse, you recycle. You choose cruelty-free sustainable goods and services as often as possible. You eat fair trade chocolate. You spend time Googling the products before you buy. You purchase as many Earth-and humanity-friendly things as your budget (and research time) allows.
You may not have put a label on it, but you’re trying your best to practice ethical consumerism.
Ethical consumerism is about making everyday choices that reflect our beliefs and values, choices that take into account the environmental and social impacts of the products and services we trade our money for. Fair labor practices, sustainability, and responsible sourcing all help us do our part to usher in a more just and equitable world.
But can we do even more… without doubling our time, energy, and money spent?
We can, and here’s how:
How to become an ethical consumer in 2023
Research the company
Does the company you’re looking to buy goods or services list their sustainability practices, their labor policies, and their sourcing methods? How do their ethics look? Are they at the forefront of the sustainability movement, or are they lagging behind? For every company out there that doesn’t care, there’s at least one that does.
Look for certifications and labels
Does the product you’re considering carry a certification or label indicating adherence to ethical standards? Is it Fair Trade or Certified Organic? Again, for every company that doesn’t, there’s at least one that does. Finding organic coffee syrups & sustainable socks isn’t as hard as it used to be.
Consider the product’s life cycle
When shopping, do you think about the entire life cycle of a product, from production to disposal? Is it sustainably made and produced with minimal environmental impact? Is it designed for durability & longevity or does it resemble fast fashion? Is it recyclable or compostable or will it end up wrapped around a sea turtle in 6 months?
Prioritize local and small businesses
Do you consider supporting local and small businesses first? Contributing to the local economy and reducing the environmental impact that transportation and shipping have are a great way to boost our ethical consumer practices.
Why buy something that has to be trucked in from miles and miles away, adding unnecessary carbon emissions to the air, when there’s a similar choice right down the street? And, BONUS, many small businesses also prioritize ethical practices and have a more direct relationship with their suppliers, ensuring fair labor practices and responsible sourcing.
Engage with the company
Do you contact or connect with the company on social media or via email? Do you reach out to them and see if they’re transparent about their practices? When businesses know that this is what their target customers want they’re encouraged to do better.
Share your values with others
Do your friends and family know your sustainable, cruelty-free, zero-waste (if possible) shopping habits? Do they have a cute granola nickname for you or do they have no idea what your values and choices are when it comes to the votes you make with your money? Be out and proud about the positive impact your choices make, and encourage them to do the same.
As consumers, we have more power than we realize. We can shape the world through the decisions we make. What are your decisions saying about the kind of world you want to live in?
But doesn’t this type of intense scrutiny take forever… and cost more?
Does ethical shopping take more time and money?
No. Because we at PlanetX are doing it too, and we’re making the most comprehensive database of brand and product impact data in the world!
You can take advantage of the digging we’ve done (please do —it’s what we’re here for and is literally our mission!) and save so much time and energy. Need a new bike and are wondering which manufacturers score the highest at fair labor practices and using sustainable materials? Ask PlanetX which companies score better.
Finding companies and brands that match your values shouldn’t be a chore.
If we choose wisely, and together, we can ensure a brighter future for all.
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