With the growing awareness of the effects of consumerism on the planet, many people are moving towards ethical shopping. So what exactly does this mean? Let's try and define ethical shopping.
Supporting ethical practices involves putting thought into what you buy, and making choices that reduce your impact on the planet and its inhabitants. Some people think it's all about being green (or eco friendly) but there's more to it than that. For some who embrace ethical shopping, it may mean making a stand for animal welfare by buying goods that are cruelty free. Others will choose to concentrate on the supply chain and buy local or purchase goods (especially clothing) only from suppliers that care about the welfare of their employees.
Ethical and sustainable shopping are connected, and, like fair trade, part of the conscious consumer movement. Whether buying or considering food, services, or products, we can take the time to make sure we’re making the best choices. If you’re reading this, then you’ve already been putting thought into a better way to shop, so hello, conscious consumer!
Tip: If you are not sure how to find ethical or sustainable goods, just put ethical shopping directory into a search engine or downlaod an ethical shopping app.
To make the best buying choice, we need an ethical shopping list; especially if we want to embrace ethical shopping online, we need to consider:
How was it made? Sustainably made products are those made in a socially responsible and environmentally friendly way. For example, zero waste products and those made from reusable, secondhand, upcycled, recycled, or repurposed materials.
If you’re aware of where your product comes from, and how it was made, you’re a conscious consumer. Sometimes, making this switch raises other questions or considerations as well.
What difference will my purchases make? As the saying goes, every little bit helps. You could be one of a thousand people switching to a more ethical brand, and that makes a difference. Once you find a good supplier, shop, or business, put them on your go-to list. Share your discovery with your friends and family. We can all help to make changes.
What’s the best choice? This is where you’ve weighed up the options, and may not be able to tick all the boxes. You may decide to prioritise local production over sustainable packaging, or organic over local, so you make the best buy you can.
Alternatively, you might find a product that ticks all the boxes but costs more. This is where it's helpful to keep in mind that each dollar we spend on ethical products helps grow the Australian market for such products. In turn, this helps businesses thrive, and can also influence other companies to make more ethical decisions.
Are the claims true? Some companies practice greenwashing, which means they lead buyers into thinking the product or service is more ethical or eco friendly than it actually is. There are ways to spot this, such as looking for third party certifications, like ACO (Australian Certified Organic), looking past the eco-themed packaging, and reading claims with a critical eye.
Ethical and sustainable choices affect every area of our lives: the bank we choose, energy supplier, food shopping (consider food waste), clothes and travel. If you are buying products or thinking about your purchasing decisions, look for information that will help you rate brands on their environmental impact, and their treatment of workers, collaborators, and consumers.
Sometimes we need to look at the small stuff too, like the clothes that we wear or buying something beautiful for ourselves. Embracing slow fashion or ethical fashion is important, but there are many other everyday opportunities where you can make a difference. And this is where O Gosh Shop comes in. We offer you guilt-free shopping for amazing, Australian-made jewellery, homewares, art, and toys (plus more) because we research the makers of every item in our shop to verify how their products are produced. We use sustainable packaging and avoid plastic as much as possible (not quite 100% yet).
Take a look and find something ethical, sustainable, lovely, and made in Australia.
Remember, ethical shopping is not just about the environment and climate change. It's about community as well - about making ethical choices that benefit people and the planet.