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What is Conscious Consumerism?

19 Nov 2020

Our mission is to inspire people to move away from mindless consumption to make more conscious decisions. But what does that actually mean, and why is it important? In this article we cover:

Here goes!

What is conscious consumerism?

Conscious consumerism, sometimes called ethical consumerism or green consumerism, means consumers deliberately making purchasing decisions that they believe have a positive social, economic, and environmental impact.

In short, it means shopping with sustainably in mind. This can cover either buying a specific product or choosing not to buy anything at all, both are conscious decisions.

An unlikely example is billionaire investor Warren Buffet, one of the richest men of all time. Despite his wealth, he still lives in the same house he bought 50 years ago and drives a modest Cadillac, telling Forbes “I only drive about 3,500 miles a year so I will buy a new car very infrequently.”

Keeping an Old Car is One of the Steps of Conscious Consumerism

Tip: keeping an old car going is much better for the environment than buying a new one

Benefits of conscious consumerism

Becoming a more conscious consumer can benefit your wallet, wellbeing and the environment.

Reduce your environmental footprint

Similar to consumer activism, conscious consumerism is a way that individuals can exercise their power as consumers to positively impact the world. Without putting too fine a point on it, human consumption is currently unsustainable if we want to preserve our planet for future generations. By choosing to buy products that are produced sustainably, we reduce our environmental footprints and ensure the fair treatment of other humans.

As individuals, far removed from the origins of the products we buy in stores or online, it can be difficult to visualize how conscious consumerism makes a difference, but it does. First of all, you’re buying a better product for people and the environment and that’s never a bad thing. The money you spend is going to the ‘good guys’, so to speak, helping further the development of more sustainable products and practices. Secondly, markets react to consumer demands.

Whilst sustainable products may seem like a minority when compared to the overall size of the market, they are gaining ground—the comparative rise in the popularity of organic vs non-organic food for example, or electric vehicles vs petrol or diesel. Their burgeoning popularity is a wake up call to unsustainable producers who see their market share reduced, want to get in on the next innovation, and attract employees. This does, unfortunately, lead to some greenwashing, but that’s just something we’ll have to look out for.

Spread the environmental message

Then there is the power of performative action. Turns out ‘going green’ is catching. For example, studies have shown that installing solar panels means your neighbours are much more likely to as well, and it’s a similar story with recycling. After all, actions speak louder than words.

Installing a Solar Panel on the House
Solar Power Helps Reduce Carbon Footprint

Some studies have suggested that solar panels are more catching than smoking.

Buy better value products

Lastly, in general, being a little more conscious with your purchasing decisions will give you access to better value products. If a product is truly designed with sustainability in mind, then it will be designed to last for as long a possible, which means good quality and lifetime value. Also, if the product is part of a circularity programme, then there may be a discount for recycling the product through the manufacturer.

How brands can drive sustainable behaviors

Of course, for consumers to be able to make conscious purchasing decisions they need to be educated about the impacts of their consumption. Not green-shamed, but informed. Then, they need to be given the option to consume more sustainably, ideally without impacting too much on price and convenience. Companies have to be transparent and provide data about how their products are produced.

Let’s take our circular mobile case as an example of a product we know is produced sustainably (we did design it after all). We make them from the byproduct of organic linseed farming, material that would otherwise go to waste. With the help of some experts local to the farm, we process it into a mobile case that can be either returned safely to nature or recycled multiple times into a new case. This way waste is designed out of the system, a model called agood loop. As an incentive, we offer a discount on the next purchase.

Circular No Plastic Phone Cases

The cases still do their job as well, if not better, than others but with a reduced environmental impact than their plastic counterparts, for example.

How to be a more conscious consumer

Sustainable consumption can be helped through a combination of brand and consumer action. It’s important to note, however, that we’re not going to buy our way out of the environmental crisis, but conscious consumerism is part of the movement towards sustainability that we all must take. Let's see how you can be a more conscious consumer.

Transform your consumption habits - embrace minimalism

Reduce the number of products you buy, and maybe even try minimalism. By doing so, you can minimise your impact on the environment and reduce waste generation. Choose quality over quantity and focus on purchasing items that truly add value to your life.

Sustainable shopping - every purchase count

When researching what products to buy, consider the environmental and social impact across its whole lifecycle. Look for brands that prioritize sustainability, transparency, and ethical practices. We know this can be tough and requires some extra effort, but the best brands make it easy and once you know, you know. 

We are proud of the social impact of our company and our dedication to fair labor practices, community engagement, and making meaningful contributions to society.

Repurpose before recycling

Before recycling, think if you can repurpose or reused first. Repurposing not only reduces waste but also encourages creativity and resourcefulness. By extending the lifespan of products, you can help conserve resources and minimise the energy and materials required for recycling.

Mindful eating - choose vegetarian, buy local

Embracing a vegetarian or vegan diet, even if only part-time, can have a significant positive impact on the environment. Animal agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation. Additionally, supporting local and organic food options helps reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation and promotes sustainable farming practices.

Organic Food Sustainable Shopping

You can also educate yourself further by watching some of the many vegan documentaries to watch, which can help you better understand the impact of animal agriculture on the environment and your health.

Green commuting

Walk, cycle or use public transport instead of driving. These options are more environmentally friendly than driving a car, as they reduce carbon emissions and alleviate traffic congestion. By choosing sustainable transportation, you can contribute to cleaner air and reduced fossil fuel consumption.

Switch to renewable energy

Switching to a renewable energy supplier for your electricity needs is an effective way to reduce your carbon footprint. Renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power, have a much lower environmental impact compared to fossil fuels. By supporting renewable energy, you actively promote the transition to a more sustainable energy system.

Renewable Energy Sources - Solar Panels and Windmills

Cut out the single-use

Take a stand against single-use items by eliminating them from your daily life. Replace disposable products like plastic bags, water bottles, and straws with reusable alternatives, such as reusable stainless steel bottles and bamboo or wheat straws. This small change can have a significant impact in reducing plastic waste and protecting our oceans and ecosystems.

Purchase carbon offsets

Consider purchasing carbon offsets to cancel or reduce your carbon footprint. Carbon offsets represent investments in projects that reduce or remove greenhouse gas emissions, such as renewable energy projects or reforestation initiatives. By supporting these projects, you can offset the emissions generated by your activities, contributing to the global effort to combat climate change. For example, tree planting is an effective way to offset carbon emissions.

Planting a Tree is a Great Way to Offset Your Carbon Footprint


Beyond conscious consumerism

Now we’ve convinced you that being a conscious consumer is beneficial to both people and the environment, we’ll let you know some other ways you can help the environmental movement. Other necessary actions are:

  • Exercising your political right to vote, no vote is wasted!
  • Support organizations that are fighting for the rights of people and the environment
  • Join a local community group, go clean up a beach or plant trees. Projects where you can see yourself actively make a change. It’s amazing to see your actions make an immediate impact.

Thanks for reading! Have anything to add, did we miss anything? Les us know by emailing [email protected].

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