Becoming a Conscious Consumer: What It Means & How to Get Started
Have you heard the term ‘conscious consumer’? Does it conjure up images of homemade shampoo and only eating what you can grow in your backyard?Â Then good news for you: it’s MUCH more simple than that!
What Does It Mean to Be a Conscious Consumer?
A conscious consumer is an agent of change who understands the social, environmental, ecological, and political impact of their purchase decisions, and chooses to use their buying power for good.
Simply put: living a conscious lifestyle means thinking before buying to ensure you aren’t unknowingly supporting a brand with unethical or destructive business practices, and being responsible for the full lifecycle of your purchased goods.
The primary areas of conscious consumerism include:
- Supporting businesses that are focused on:
- Fair trade and quality working conditions
- Sustainable and eco-friendly solutions around materials sourcing and production
- Generation of social good
- Charitable and give back models
- Only buying what you truly need
- Disposing of goods and packaging responsibly; recycling, upcycling and extending the life of the item wherever possible
Obviously some of these are easier than others. It can take a lot of research to validate whether a business is worthy of your support, so if you’re looking for a cheat sheet you can browse our favorite Good Brands here (we’re constantly adding to the list).
Why Should I Live a Conscious Lifestyle?
There was a timeâ€“not so long agoâ€“when many of us would simply shop for the best deal to get the latest items on the market with zero awareness of the materials used, the production process involved, or the treatment of the people making the goods. We were blissfully ignorant back then, before technology and social media began exposing their dark side.
This excessive and impulsive consumerism enabled businesses to get away with acting badlyâ€“afterall they were just meeting the demands of us consumers, whatever the cost.
But conscious consumerism is going to remedy that. By demanding that businesses be responsible and accountable for their impact on the environment and the people involvedâ€“and refusing to support companies that don’t hold up to these expectationsâ€“we are collectively putting financial and political pressure on these businesses. The end result willÂ be that they lose out on a growing slice of business until they get on the bandwagon. As more of us shop consciously, the more they will feel the pressure.
Will Shopping from Socially Conscious Brands Really Make a Difference?
Yes! The great news is that we are already seeing changes: huge companies like Adidas and Nike have come out with sustainability initiatives and eco-friendly clothing and shoe lines; Apple and Tesla are building new headquarters 100% powered by their own solar generation; Hi Fly airline just launched the first ever plastic-free flight; and Corona just rolled out 100% plastic-free 6-pack rings. The list goes on â€“ but all are a result of the growing trend of consumers demanding that businesses stand for more than just the bottom line.
So while your t-shirt purchase may feel futile in the scheme of thingsâ€“it’s not when you are joined by hundreds of thousands of individuals (millions globally) who are also choosing to live a conscious lifestyle and save their purchases for more deserving brands.
Ready to Start Shopping More Consciously?
So for those who were thinking being a conscious consumer involves DIY everything and starting a non-profitâ€“I hope you now understand that we are all fully capable of becoming a conscious consumer. And every conscious lifestyle journey is different, so begin yours in whatever way makes the most sense for you.
Looking for a little help getting started?Â The Good Shop is focused on making it easy for everyone to shop more consciously. Every brand featured is focused on providing eco-friendly, sustainable and/or fair trade goods, generating social good or giving back to non-profits. Enjoy shopping consciously!