[Gifted | Affiliate Links] A lot of people say there’s no ethical consumption under capitalism, and yes to an extent that might be true. However, being green doesn’t mean you you need to abandon retail therapy. Ethical shopping absolutely is possible, and here’s how you can do it.
What Is Ethical Shopping?
Ethical shopping is the act of consciously shopping with progressive companies; whether this means fair trade, vegan, zero-waste, or plastic-free products. It’s still a realitively new concept, but the principla is that we can’t completely avoid capitalism; so when you need to go shopping, shopping ethically causes the least amount of harm; whether that’s to staff, animals, or the planet.
Ethical Shopping Guide
Buy From Companies Who Do Good
Almost all companies exist to make a profit, but that doesn’t mean that they’re all heartless. Many green companies will use their profits to go some good.
For example, Boostology gifted me this stunning Volcanic potpourri lava and obsidian diffuser. For every sale made, they donate to Ecologi, which is a tree-planting initiative. One of our biggest ways to fight climate change is to plant more trees, so if you need to buy a friend a stunning Volcanic potpourri diffuser for Christmas or their birthday, or want to treat yourself to some natural skincare or reusable facemasks, then this is a company that will do something good on your behalf.
So far I love the diffuser; the matte black is so elegant and I love that I can choose what essential oil I want to use.
Opt For Zero-Waste & Low-Waste Options
There’s nothing more frustrating than buying something you need, for it to be covered in unnecessary amounts of plastic. For some reason Tesco still shrink wrap whole cucumbers! So, the green option here is to buy them from other stores, who see how pointless wrapping a whole vegetable with its own skin in single-use plastic is.
Going fully zero-waste requires a massive lifestyle overhaul, I’m not even there yet!
There’s a horrific amount of unncessary single use plastic, so the best thing to do is to shop around for items with the least amount of packaging. If you can’t go zero-waste, you can still be low-waste. You can buy zero-waste foods such as rice, pasta, and oats in many health stores, which allow you to fill your own container. If you’re getting coffee bring your own cup, and carry reusable water bottles!
B-corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of social and environmental action, are transparent with the public, and take legal accountability when it comes to profit and purpose. It’s not easy to be recognized as a certified B-Corp, so there’s no greenwashing here.
An example of switching to a B-corp, would be learning your favourite coffee brand isn’t the most sustainable, and then switching to coffee from a B-corp; you still get to enjoy your morning cup of coffee, just with less environmental and social damage.
Be Smart About Greenwashing
Not all companies who aren’t B-corps are unethical, however, a great deal of them do greenwash.
Greenwashing is when brands and companies market themselves as sustainable and ethical when they’re actually not. It’s also called green sheen, and entails using marketing to look sustainable.
Many people fall for it, so if in doubt, do a little research. If a brand is only hopping on the green wagon now that it’s trendy, I’d be suspicious.
Sometimes brands might do the bare minimum, such as a fast fashion brand releasing a “sustainable” collection because being green is “in” now, but if they really cared about the environment, then they’d be a sustainble fashion brand to begin with!
One of the key things on these ethical shopping guide, is to shop secondhand! We live with such an abundance now, that we take so much for granted, and perfectly good items end up in the bin.
Before buying something new, see if there’s already a secondhand version you can buy. Depop is a gold mine for sustainable fashion finds, as are charity shops, and farmers markets. Check out my eco-goth guide for more tips.