If you are new to the Conscious Consumer movement, it can feel daunting to step into this space and understand where to begin. Right now, this movement is not only affecting consumer habits, but global production, product development, and marketing tactics for large corporations. Thus, small businesses are making a comeback. The ideology that “what we buy has a direct impact on our world” is crucial.
With that being said, before you pull your favorite deodorant off the shelf at the grocery store, or order more hand sanitizer in bulk online; Here are a few questions to ask your internal conscious consumer…
Where was this item made?
Consider where this company creates it’s product. Is it locally sourced or purchased? Well, this simple ask allows us to evaluate the carbon footprint this product may have on the world. According to Carbon Brief, “Around 22% of global CO2 emissions stem from the production of goods that are, ultimately, consumed in a different country.”
How was this item made?
What ingredients are found within the product you are looking to purchase. Are they harmful to the environment? This includes the packaging that your product may come in. Also, a simple philosophy to live by is “the less plastic, the better”. That includes avoiding polyester at ALL costs because this is a synthetic plastic material derived from crude oil.
Does this item harm or hurt the world in any way?
Well, some labels that you should be looking for are the Leaping Bunny Certification, Fair Trade and the recycling symbol. These logos are located near the ingredients or on the main label of a product. As a result, they identify the ethics that went into creating said product and can help you evaluate companies that you can trust.
Does this item align with my values?
Ask yourself, what values do I want to uphold within my consumer habits. Do you want everything you touch to be vegan? Do you want to be as eco-friendly as possible? Are you looking to reduce the amount of plastic you consume? Are you hoping to support less exploitation of workers? Lastly, make a list on your phone and use these values to make your purchasing decisions next time you go to the store or find yourself online.
Does this item fill a void or fill a need?
This question is more of an emotionally driven question that can intimate a lot of us. After all, consumerism is built on our emotional response to products. In the age of social media, there is even more of a pull toward wanting more, having more, and “needing more”. Therefore, slowing down to reflect on the “why” of your purchase can help you discern from truly needing something versus purchasing something to fill a desire or a void. Lastly, it is no secret that purchasing things can give us a temporary mood boost. The keyword here is… Temporary. So, unless you are ready for another retail therapy hangover, we suggest you ask yourself this question next time you are looking for a “quick fix” with the help of your shopping cart.Be open. Be mindful. Be willing to ask the questions.