How to be a Conscious Consumer

How to be a Conscious Consumer

Our global economy isdemanding more out of our people and planet than ever before. Our natural resources are being depleted,production pollutes just as much as it provides, and people all over the world are being exploited for cheaper labor.Luckily,consumers are smart. And they arewaking up to how their choices either enable or disrupt these negative consequences of capitalism.

But in this day and age, sometimes a brand’s sustainability practices seem to be more about a marketing campaign than an actual desire to do good. Simple, overused words like “eco-friendly,” or even more complex concepts such as “supply chain ethics” are thrown into product descriptions and marketing materials, but branded jargon can be misleading about a company’s true impact.

So what is Karukinka’s advice on how to be a better consumer? Here’s how you can vote with your dollar and disrupt harmful business practices by purchasing products that have a positive cyclical impact rather than a negative one.

Buy from a brand with transparent production practices

Look past what a brand shares about its values and investigate its manufacturing practices. Where are the products made and who is making them? Does the brand share stories of the people who work there? Is it transparent about where it gets its materials and if people who work there are paid liveable wages commensurate with their work? If a brand is committed to these practices, it shouldn’t be too hard for a consumer to find plenty of information on each aspect of production. Brands that believe in good production practices want to share this information and will have it clearly and transparently displayed on their website.

Invest in quality, not quantity
The best thing you can do as a consumer is tobuy less, and when you do make a purchase, but only what you need and buy something that will last. Rather than purchasing something you will use a few times and then toss in a landfill, make sure you are buying something you love and that will stand up if you use it again and again and again.

Pass on plastic
We’re not just talking about single-use water bottles and straws (although those should be avoided, too!). Did you know that synthetic fabrics are usually petroleum and plastic-based? And that the production of these fabrics depends on natural resource extraction and releases CO2 into our atmosphere, a leading contributor to climate change? And, when worn and washed, these fabrics shedmicroplastics that end up in our rivers, streams, and oceans? When possible, say no thanks to plastic and choose natural products instead.

Purchase from purpose-driven organizations
Take tip #1 a step further by finding companies that have a purpose incorporated into their profit. Does your favorite T-Shirt brand plant a tree or give to a national park for each product purchased? Maybe those yoga pants you’ve been coveting are made from recycled water bottles or those jeans you’ve seen ads for pick up a pound of trash for every product sold. These brands are out there making a difference. Look for companies that are 1% for the Planet organizationsor B Corps, like Karukinka.

Want to keep shopping smart? Check out our entire collection of ethical, handmade apparel made in Patagonia.

Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash