In today’s market, it is not rare to see products that are considered “Environmentally Conscious” or “Sustainably Sourced,” but what does that really mean? Let’s break down these terms. A product that is environmentally conscious is something that has a lower impact on the environment throughout its life cycle. This could mean anything from having a reduced carbon footprint to being made from recycled materials. If an item is sustainably sourced it means that the producing company took into account social, environmental, and ethical performance factors in their decision process for choosing a supplier. Both of these terms mean that the product is better than the average for their product category. So beyond reading labels, what can you do to shop more consciously?
1) Look for the B Corp Certification- B Corps or Benefit Corporations are companies that have met high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on numerous factors in their production and operating processes.
2) Research the Companies you Spend Money At- It can seem like an overwhelming task to search high and low for the best brands, but if you want your dollar to make an impact, the best place to start is looking at the companies you are already shopping with!
3) Buy Quality Instead of Quantity- If you are on a budget it is very easy to buy the
cheaper, lower quality items now and worry about it later, but oftentimes those items will break quicker and cause you to replace them more often. If you are able, try opting for a higher quality item that you know is going to last. A tip for this is to purchase items that are timeless. Whether it be clothing, furniture or other items, having minimalist pieces will allow you to redecorate without having to trash items you already have.
4) Shop and Travel Local- You’ve probably heard the benefits of shopping locally like being able to support businesses in your own town or even reducing emissions by decreasing shipping distances, but what you may not have heard is that you can help by traveling locally! Don’t get me wrong, everyone loves a good trip now and then, but as can be imagined, the emissions produced by planes vastly outweighs the amount produced by cars even over a longer period of time. Next time you are planning a trip, try exploring places that are in a 3 hour radius of your home. You may be surprised by what you find!
Remember, every little bit helps! It may not feel like you are making a big impact, but if everyone does one little thing, that small impact turns into a really big impact. And who knows! Maybe your actions will inspire others to live more consciously and spread the word to their friends. We only have one planet and we have to protect it. We truly are all in this together.