Consumer habits in the 21st century are evolving. While everyone overall wants to score a great deal, many people want to make a statement with their dollar and spend it with brands that align with their values. When brands become very successful, they set an image for the rest of the industry and a standard for their competitors. But what does this mean when a brand’s ethics are compromised and the impacts of its production practices are overlooked? It’s fair to say that as individuals, we may not entirely socially, ethically, or philosophically support most common brands that we frequently buy from. But when we do, we are engaging in conscious consumerism.
What is Conscious Consumerism?
Put simply, conscious consumerism is the practice of mindfully making a purchase in consideration of the brand’s or product’s social and/or environmental impact. In other words, you’re consciously making the decision to buy something with an awareness of what your money will be contributing to.
There are many ways to be a conscious consumer based on your values and causes you support. At ourCommonplace, we make it easy for you to shop by your values. Here is a list of values we have that you can consciously shop by to ease into the practice of conscious consumerism:
We partner with over 30 BIPOC-owned brands and counting, ranging between fashion, beauty and wellness, and home. If you choose to support these brands, not only are you helping strengthen BIPOC communities, you’re also contributing to shrinking the racial wealth gap, encouraging job creation, and propelling diverse representation across consumer industries.
Opting in to support cruelty-free brands helps deflect support away from brands that do animal testing of their products. Animal tests are often painful and cause the suffering and death of millions of animals every year. By ensuring that the products you buy are cruelty-free, you’re helping support and normalize brands and products that value the wellbeing of animals in their production practices.
We believe that all brands are responsible for providing decent working conditions, ethical treatment of workers, and fair wages. Every brand we carry is held to this standard in order to partner with us. Supporting ethical brands sends a message to the rest of the industry that what happens behind the scenes matters just as much, if not more, than the finished product.
The consumer industries, especially the fashion industry, come with a huge implicit cost that negatively affects the environment. We make sure the brands we carry are making an intentional effort to reduce their ecological footprint. Ensuring the sustainability of the materials they use to the careful production processes and beyond, these brands consider the environment as a top-priority when creating their products. This is especially important now that many brands are trying to appear more environmentally conscious than they actually are (see ‘What is Greenwashing?’). Supporting these brands helps them grow so consumers can confidently identify which brands are doing the work versus the ones that are not.
The secret behind the beauty, personal care, and fashion industry is that they are virtually unregulated, allowing them to use untested chemicals that can be harmful to our bodies and the environment. By purchasing toxic-free products, you can feel confident in the product and the brand, ensuring that your dollar is helping create more products that keep our safety and health in mind.
- Supporting women-owned businesses helps generate more wealth and investment into girls and women who are trying to develop into successful leaders for the future. This ensures and encourages broader gender representation in the world entrepreneurship and business for generations of women to come.