Ethical Consumerism can be defined as: ‘ the act of purchasing products or services that minimize social or environmental damage, whilst at the same time avoiding/boycotting products and services that damage the environment and have a negative impact on society’.
Someone who lives alone can find this quite easy. However a family may find it daunting. However, every time you bring ethics into your purchasing decisions, it sends a message that ethically produced services sell, thus encouraging the manufacturers /suppliers to continue providing them. For instance, if a supermarket decided to stock Fairtrade bananas and they sell well, they will order more. The effect on the growers of these bananas cannot be underestimated.
So, what criteria can we look for to help make the world a better place?
By this we mean who you bank with, who you obtain your supply of gas and electricity with etc.
The main issues here are what are companies investing in (could it be damaging to the environment?) or how they run their operations (do control their emissions?).
A very interesting one here is food and drink.
Is it Fairtrade? Is it organic? Is it vegetarian? Who are you buying it from? Are recyclable brown bags available, rather than plastic ones?
How far has it travelled to get to that shop? Who has supplied the shop? And so on.
You could opt for avoiding meat, only eating MSC fish and buying fair-trade, organic or local fruit and vegetables.
You can also bring consumer buying decisions into white goods, cars, where you eat out, and everything else you buy online or in the high street.
There are many routes to choose in being an ethical consumer- so go on, try one of them!