Conscious Consumerism: What it is, Why it Matters, and How to Become a More Conscious Consumer
The consumer model is constantly shifting, with many customers today focusing on what is known as “conscious consumerism”—the buying practices driven by a commitment to making purchasing decisions that have a positive social, economic, and environmental impact. In layman’s terms, this means consumers are buying into businesses—both big and small—that lead with their moral compasses, not compromising the well-being of workers, animals, or the environment for financial profits. This practice is consistently on the uptrend, and businesses are taking notice, with many changing their models to appeal to the “conscious consumer” market.
Why Does This Matter?
This trend matters and is imperative for our societies’ future because it’s better for everyone. Why? For starters, it drastically helps humankind inch closer to achieving sustainability goals. With the climate crisis looming and growing steadily day by day, conscious consumerism can curb the effects of human waste and pollution. It cuts back the need for mass consumption and production, which is one of the main culprits behind the degradation of the environment.
Furthermore, it is imperative from an ethical point of view—as a significant emphasis of conscious consumerism revolves around the idea of having a positive social and economic impact. Unfortunately, very many companies have done—and still do—unethical business practices. Some of the most deplorable actions center around human labor and the inhumane treatment of animals. For example, the fashion industry is undergoing massive scrutiny for video footage of their atrocious animal abuse, as uncovered by a recent documentary from CaveLight Films titled The Face of Fashion is Fear. It’s so disheartening that it’s nearly impossible not to weep at the sight of these actions towards living creatures. This hasn’t been the first time things like this have happened, and what’s worse, they are still happening. It then begs the question, why is this okay? And how do we stop it? Let’s look at a select few.
One of the most powerful tools we have is education. Most, if not all, have access to the internet nowadays. That means we can do our research. Take time to do your due diligence and find out how companies and brands genuinely operate—what you find may surprise you.
Of course, we all want to shop at ethical places, but the sad truth is, sometimes the places we shop do a near-perfect job at shielding the truth from us. That being said, make sure to do as much research as you can before you make a decision. You wouldn’t buy a car or attend a university without doing some extensive research first, right? Well, do the same for the other products and services you’re buying.
Make Your Money Count: Good Businesses Are Good Business
Businesses are in business to make money, bottom line. However, using your funds to buy ethical products and services can change this narrative—showing that companies can be great for the world and great for their bottom-line.
For example, have you heard of the term “circular economy”? This model is a systematic approach to economic development designed to benefit various stakeholders aside from just the businesses—mainly helping society and the environment. This process is designed to be regenerative and seeks to gradually step away from the consumption of limited, non-renewable resources by focusing on sustainable measures that create a “circular” model versus the traditional linear model. So, this means creating products and systems that can be fully reused and/or repurposed, reducing the overall amount of waste generated from manufacturing development. This business model is becoming increasingly popular and proving that it can be done. Take a company like Redwood Materials, for example. They are working to solve the e-waste problem and demand for raw materials by creating a circular economy. See how they’re doing this here.
The main takeaway from this point is that a company can be ethical and maintain exponential net profits, and we should support the ones making these strides. It’s not a concept; it’s being done.
Something relatively easy to do is spread awareness. With tools like social media, spreading a message can be easy and have massive reach. Although it’s crucial to mention, you can spread awareness about a particular issue without attacking or forcing your views onto others. Instead, focus your attention on spreading awareness and educating those who seek to learn more.
Hold Yourself and Others Accountable
Accountability is critical in various facets of life, so this is something most of us already practice. Whether you’re holding yourself, your friends, or the businesses themselves accountable, having that accountability is what helps elicit change.
Making a Difference Starts With Us:
Businesses and Organizations You Can Support
Now that we’ve covered the basics of conscious consumerism and its importance, let’s look at ways you can actively get involved. Start by supporting and sharing news of organizations and businesses trying to make a difference!
Cleverly sticking their name to their mission, Conscious Capitalism Inc. focuses on supporting a global community of business leaders dedicated to elevating humanity through business. By providing innovative and inspiring experiences, executives have the opportunity to hone their business operations and collectively demonstrate how capitalism can act as a powerful catalyst for good when practiced consciously.
How people choose what to buy and wear has the power to change the world. FEED offers thoughtful ways for consumers to make a real difference by selling artisan-made products that provide meals and sustainable livelihoods for their artisan partners and families.
Giving back is one of the best ways to make a lasting impact in the world. DonorSee is an online giving platform that allows you to pick a project, donate any amount, and see how your donation makes a positive difference.
The mission of Imani Collective is to “unleash greatness within artisans and their communities by crafting ethical lifestyle products that cultivate holistic empowerment and opportunity.” Imani Collective started solely with sixteen women and has grown substantially into a powerful brand changing the narrative for communities in underdeveloped areas.
New Wave Foods
New Wave Foods is curbing the need to take the life out of the ocean by creating a delicious, plant-based seafood option that tastes just as good and has even better health benefits—proving sustainable options can exist without compromise.
With the brilliant tagline of “Raising the Bar,” every purchase of Pacha Soap supports transparent and ethical sourcing, clean water initiatives, hygiene education, and small business opportunities worldwide.
A clothing brand focused on giving back, Natural Life finds causes they are passionate about and seeks to get involved any way they can.
Impossible Foods is another brand proving that meat consumption can be profitable, sustainable, and, most importantly, delicious without harming animals or the environment. Their motto is “eat meat, save the planet,” meaning consumers can eat plant-based meats that taste just as good as the real thing but use less water, gas, land and have a minimal carbon footprint.
Plant Power Fast Food
We all love an excellent fast-food run. But fast food can be just as bad for the environment as it can be for our bodies (shocker). Plant Power Fast Food is changing the game for what’s possible with plant-based foods and their impact on society, animal welfare, and, most importantly, the environment.
Remembering Best for the World Leadership
Whether or not you choose to support one—or all—of the businesses listed above, making an impact starts with us.
We can set a precedent for what businesses will look like in the future and show that companies who are great for the world are great for business, period. We all have the power to make a difference, and little by little, we can create a feature that benefits us all—planet and animals, people, and profit.