Woman with box over head. Photo by Deborah Bacheschi, via Unsplash

116: Be a discerning brand consumer

Cost of taking action: £/$/€ NIL

From our guest writer Jasmin Harrison in Australia

Take action: be a discerning brand consumer

Ever wonder what you’re supporting when you shop?

Are the brands you buy from taking action to reduce their impact on people, animals and the planet?

Why is this important?

As paying customers, we have the power to vote with our money. This means our buying habits can be a force for change – away from fast fashion and products that are exploiting workers and the environment – and towards brands that are taking action to operate ethically.

Become part of the solution

You can be an ethical consumer in a number of ways:

  • Choose to purchase products that are certified as fair trade, organic or cruelty free – support the companies employing these practices
  • Choose not to buy products that go against good ethics and values, for example battery eggs or single-use plastics
  • Choose not to buy from particular brands who are not actively ethical
  • Or perhaps a little of each!

How to find ethical brands

  • Certifications: is the brand or product certified as fair trade, organic or cruelty free?
  • Transparent policies and practices: if you research the company, can you find transparent information about their supply chain, which materials they use, how they manage waste, how they treat their employees and factory workers?
  • Do they take action? They may ‘talk the talk’ but do they act on what they say? Can they provide data and evidence of steps taken to reduce their environmental impact, or improve worker conditions?
  • Are they focused on lasting, high-quality products, or do they prioritise mass-produced and cheap items designed to be replaced often?
  • Are they honest about the areas where improvement is needed, including a plan of action to address these issues?

This is a large topic and these are just a few of the ways you can start to find those brands who are truly ethical.

They may not have everything 100% right, all of the time (but then who does?!), however good brands and companies make choices that are aligned with a mission to reduce any negative impacts on people, animals and the planet.

Take action

Jot down the next purchase you need to make (this can be anything – groceries, clothes, electronics) and which brand / store you typically buy from.

Head to your browser and run some searches on the brand. Search for environmental policies, and company ethics and values. Read about the types of materials they use. Check whether they hold any environmental or cruelty-free certifications?

You can also look at the websites I’ve linked to below to see if the brand has been reviewed against ethical standards.

If things don’t stack up (or you struggle to find the information) you can find alternatives through a web search, or look for local ethical businesses in your area to support.

(PS … You could also write to the company or brand manager with your questions or concerns … Ed)

Where can I find out more?

Try these sites for more information and guidance …

Good on You
Ethics and stuff
The Good Trade

Woman with box over head. Photo by Deborah Bacheschi, via Unsplash
Photo: Deborah Bacheschi, Unsplash

This article has been contributed by
Jasmin Harrison
Web: www.word-wizardry.com
Insta: @word_wizardry
Twitter: @wizardryword

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