Updated: December 31, 2022
There’s no disputing that consumerism has a significant impact on the planet. Whether it’s land clearing, pollution, unfair wages, waste, animal cruelty, or unsustainability, moral responsibilities accompany every purchase.
Maybe you already shop ethically and sustainably, or perhaps you’re just starting. No matter where on the spectrum you fall, approaching these purchases more thoughtfully may help alleviate some of these serious issues.
As we move toward a lifestyle of more conscious consumerism, we are presented with chances to make smaller footprints in various areas, such as travel, our possessions, and a big piece of the puzzle—our clothing. While it’s pretty meaningful to make such changes as an individual, the biggest impacts come when there’s widespread participation.
Here, we’ll show you how to make small but impactful changes and how to encourage others to do the same.
Explore and Explain the Benefits
In the past few years, consumer awareness has increased significantly, and industry standards have changed to meet consumers’ demand for more sustainable and ethical products. With these shifts comes an improved system that offers more understanding and transparency.
Sustainable shopping has numerous social, economic, and environmental benefits. For instance, Fahlo’s elephant bracelet exemplifies the brand’s circular production process, which reduces strain on the animals, people, and places that make up the supply chain. Sustainable and ethical brands offer a level of honesty and authenticity that far surpass those of fast fashion labels.
At first, ethical shopping may seem costly—but you’ll think differently after crunching the numbers. Because these garments and accessories are of better quality, they’ll last longer, and the cost will be insignificant compared to the damage done by not choosing sustainable options.
By investing in ethically sourced, high-quality pieces you’ll wear for years, you’ll manage spending better and rethink your buying habits.
When sharing the benefits of thoughtful consumerism with your family and friends, be positive about their progress rather than focusing on mistakes. Encouraging others to consume more mindfully isn’t supposed to be a guilt trip; it’s an uplifting experience.
Cater to Their Interests
Everyone is a bit different, and we all have unique reasons for shopping more thoughtfully. When encouraging others, appeal to their interests and passions.
Maybe they’re focused on sustainability and want to buy from brands with transparent recycling programs? Recommend sellers with return-to-store initiatives and lifetime repair guarantees.
Once you’ve started the conversation, be prepared to answer their questions, and direct them to related resources.
Be Empathetic and Ask Questions
Some people are quick to adopt a sustainable lifestyle than others, but don’t let their reluctance discourage you.
No matter how slowly they’re moving toward more meaningful choices, it’s important to ask questions, share your experiences, and understand their concerns.
These steps are crucial, as some may worry about the effects of their fashion choices while others focus on plastic pollution and other issues. Empathy and compassion are vital, as the process may not be as linear as one might think.
Shopping is a human habit just like any other—and as such, it can take a long time to make lasting changes. Understanding others’ perspectives will make it easier for you to help them shop more sustainably, thoughtfully, and ethically.
Encourage Responsible Usage
Most of the environmental effects of fashion products are seen during their use. Although we can’t control how people use the products they buy, we do have chances to promote responsible use.
For instance, sellers like Cariuma offer information on product care, explaining how to prolong a garment’s life and asking customers to wash with eco-friendly soaps and lower water temperatures.
Limit Returns When Possible
Product returns make up most of an e-commerce business’ environmental impact.
Up to 30% of goods bought online are eventually returned, which creates millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year. Furthermore, additional packing materials are used, and many items end up in the waste bin because they can’t be resold.
Many online sellers offer no-cost returns as a way to entice customers. While this strategy works, it also costs them money and negatively affects the environment. As consumers, we can mitigate this issue by choosing the right style, size, color and by helping others do the same.
Live a Sustainable Lifestyle
There we have it—a few simple ways to make better purchase decisions for yourself and encourage others to consume more mindfully.
Online commerce has effects beyond the digital world, and because the business model encourages meaningless consumption, it’s up to us to meet those effects head-on.
Many times, those closest to us want to make beneficial changes; they just don’t know how to start. By helping others become more thoughtful consumers and by choosing ethical brands when possible, we can support sustainable businesses while helping the planet.
This article is written and contributed by Donna Fowles.
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