It seems everyone is trying to reduce their ecological footprint in some way or another in 2019. But how are they doing it?
They buy fair trade
If you’re looking to become a more ethical consumer, fair trade is always the best option. When you buy fair trade, you know that whoever grew, built or manufactured your product was paid a sustainable living wage. The more you buy fair trade, the more you nourish a fair and growing economy. If you really want to be an ethical consumer, you should make fair trade your first choice whenever possible. Search online to read more about the benefits of fair trade.
They shop local and support small businesses
When it comes to food, it can be hard to shop ethically when you are unsure exactly where your products came from. Shopping at your local farmer’s market will provide you with the peace of mind of knowing whose hard work went into getting the food onto your plate and the process it went through to get there – usually it will have been grown locally to you. Another benefit of shopping at farmers’ markets is that it will save you money.
It is also helpful to buy products from small businesses. If you love having a local, independent bookstore then buy your products there rather than online! It is down to you and your community to look after your independent stores and keep them in business.
They support responsible fashion
We can’t get enough of fashion, however, our spending habits are contributing to environmental pollution and unethical labour situations. That £20 dress was a total bargain, but cheap clothes cheat millions of garment workers out of a living wage, safe working conditions and humane treatment. It’s vital to research your favourite brands and stores. What are their labour practices? Use this information to make a more informed decision the next time you buy.
Most brands and companies get away with unethical business because they think you don’t care – they know you’ll forgo unfair labour for a 2-for-1 sale. If you take a stand with your personal buying habits, companies will eventually have to take note. Some companies already are! British high street department store Debenhams has made a commitment to responsible fashion. Debenhams upholds a £1 million annual fundraising target, and makes a stand against animal-testing, also having a no genuine fur or feathers policy. In 2018, 97% of their waste produced was diverted away from landfills, making your decision to shop there a more ethical choice. And this decision will not cost the world – in more ways than one – as many deals are available in-store and online. If you want to learn more about sustainable fashion, read all about it at Vox.
Buying products second-hand is not only more environmentally friendly, but it will save you some money too. Head to flea markets and charity shops and find pieces that really resonate with you. This is one of the easiest ways to become an ethical consumer.
As sustainability becomes more of a buzz-word in fashion, there has been an increase in the emergence of eco-conscious brands. Many of these brands are re-working pre-loved materials into on-trend items. Ethical consumption doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish, some of 2019’s trendiest brands value sustainability.
Less is more, quality over quantity:
When you decide to shop more sustainably, pick better quality items that you’ll keep for longer – classic pieces that you can wear for years to come.
Ask yourself: Do I really need these new shoes? How often will I use them? Is there a better low-consumption alternative?
If you consider these questions you can save yourself money AND help save the planet.
As much as we are all starting to take responsibility for our ecological footprint and make more ethical decisions, some companies will try to take advantage of your altruistic tendencies. Make sure you always read the small print when you’re being led to believe a percentage of your purchase will go to charity. You’d be surprised how often this percentage falls between 1-5%. If you are excited by the prospect of doing good, you should always buy fair trade, locally and responsibly instead!