We need to overcome unconscious consumerism, which is chronic purchasing of new goods and services while not paying attention to your true needs, the quality, origin or the environment.
- It’s time to awaken and pay more attention to the companies we support.
- It’s time to be mindful that every buying decision made has the power to change the world
- It’s time to realize that our choices matter because our purchases enable businesses to function and prosper.
- It’s time we are fully aware that when we support a brand that does not follow ethical or sustainable business practices, we are fueling the company to endure the negative effects.
- It’s time to look beyond the label.
- It’s time to shop your values.
What Is A Conscious Consumer?
It’s not a “woo-woo” shopper. A conscious consumer wants to know who they are purchasing from, what the company stands for, if the business is environmentally responsible and if the business is committed to social equality. A conscious consumer considers social, environmental, ecological and political impact of their boycott and buycott actions. This consumer will demand transparency and will analyze price versus cost. Conscious consumers buy with their heart. They will often “pause before purchase”.
Conscious Consumerism is on the Rise…
Based on a 2015 Nielsen Global Survey of Corporate Social Responsibility – 66% of Global Consumers Say They’re Willing to Pay More for Sustainable Brands—Up 55% From 2014. 73% of Global Millennials Are Willing to Pay Extra for Sustainable Offerings—Up From 50% in 2014. Nielsen polled 30,000 consumers in 60 countries across the globe. I can only assume these numbers have increased in 2019. According to the poll: The number one sustainability factor that influences purchasing is brand trust, Millennials are the most willing to pay extra (although 51% of Boomers – aged 50-64 – were also inclined to pay higher prices for sustainable products), consumers are looking for health & wellness products that are both good for them and for society, commitment to the environment, social value and local community also has the power to sway product purchase.
How to Be A Conscious Consumer.
Don’t let this comprehensive list freak you out. Ease into conscious consumption. Choose one or two of these behaviors that resonate with you. Set an intention. Pick a day and begin. Gradually see how many of these you can incorporate into daily life. You will feel better about yourself and will be making positive change. Be the ripple!
- Look for and analyze 3rd party certifications.
- Budget for it. Healthy margins between your income and expenses allows you more money to spend on ethically made goods.
- Reuse, repurpose
- Demand transparency – research issues such as environmentally conscious manufacturing processes, responsible farming practices, human trafficking, equal pay, prevention of counterfeit goods and overproduction of goods.
- Price versus cost. The cheapest price is rarely the fair price. We worship “cheap”, but at what (or who’s) expense? The Planet? A child’s?
- Shop with the heart. Does it feel right.What is the impact of this purchase? Am I helping someone?
- Pause before you purchase. Do you really need this? Will it enrich myself or the recipient?
- Applaud your small changes. Smile when you buy local. Take pride when you have the chance to purchase an ethically sourced piece of clothing.
- Buy local. Support your local small business. The owner can then send his son to little league and/or his daughter to dance – or vice versa ☺
- Reduce/eliminate single-use plastic.
- Compost – do you have a small space in your garden or backyard?
- Once a week, go vegan or vegetarian. A reduction in meat consumption (especially red meat), will reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to less animal cruelty. Shop for certified vegan products and scout vegetables high in protein.
- Buy for quality – support companies that provide guarantees and have positive reviews (read and research the reviews carefully!).
- Choose businesses that are committed to sustainability. Check the packaging that your online retailers use. Is it eco-friendly? Avoid plastics, bubble wrap, Styrofoam etc..
- Research the company and the founder. What is their mission and vision statement? What do they stand for? Who do they support? Do they give back? Are they a Certified B corporation? Do they partner with 1% FOR THE PLANET?
- Buy sustainable and toxic-free cleaning products. This is good for the environment and also for your health.
- Reduce waste: use reusable: mugs, canteens, bottles, shopping bags, jars (spices, nuts, ingredients etc.). Slowly migrate into a zero waste lifestyle.
- Empower yourself and shop based on YOUR values.
- Recycle. Before you toss something, think carefully about the possibility of giving it a new lease on life or new home.
Words of Wisdom: I know that it feels overwhelming to look at this list as a whole, but start small and find spaces in your life where small changes are feasible right now. Even if that means simply buying less plastic products or being more aware of what ingredients are in your shampoo. Start somewhere. Start now.
Educate AND Motivate.
One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to the conscious consumer movement is that education is the only crucial factor to empower those to join in. However, motivation and commitment is just as key. We must do a better job teaching consumers that small daily purchasing actions may lead to seismic, positive changes that can ultimately elevate humanity. Check out the Vote Every Day campaign where you have a voice and power beyond the ballot box. This is a powerful example of motivation, or bridging the “intention-action” gap. How else can we motivate ourselves to be a conscious consumer? A few examples include:
- Know the cheapest price is rarely the most fair price
- Leaving a healthy margin in your finances will result in an ethical purchase not feeling like an inconvenience
- Educate yourself on why the Conscious Consumer movement is crucial and necessary (starting right here)
- Applaud small changes you make
We carry deeply embedded behaviors, and it is going to take an ongoing commitment to exchange bad habits for better ones, even when there is a desire to do good. It’s time we bridge the gap between intending to be more socially responsible and following through with action. It’s time to support your neighbor, to contribute to conscious businesses that have your best interest at heart.
It’s time to start doing some research before you shop. It’s time to pause, think about any impact, and then purchase. It’s time to shop sustainable and enrich your well-being. It’s time to empower yourself.
It’s time for a Conscious Consumer Movement. Starting today. Starting now.