We’ve talked plenty about sustainability in the office, but environmental awareness doesn’t stop once you clock out! Being a sustainable consumer in your everyday life goes miles in reducing your individual environmental impact.
WHAT’S A SUSTAINABLE CONSUMER AND CAN HE/SHE REALLY MAKE A CHANGE?
Sustainable consumers are, essentially, individuals who consume sustainable products. They mitigate their personal environmental impact and at the same time, choose to buy products from companies that have the same green priorities. This sounds way more difficult than it actually is, but we’ll get into the practices of sustainable consumption shortly!
The biggest question we have to answer first is simply whether sustainable consumption can make an impact.
On a basic level, the principle of compounding says yes. A grain of sand on its own is practically invisible, but billions of grains form stretches of beaches. Similarly, a single sustainable consumer may not have a huge impact on environmental conservation, but entire movements of green consumers will undoubtedly induce a cultural shift!
Speaking more pragmatically, consumers control our economy. Yes, that means YOU. If consumers collectively shun businesses that actively harm our environment, they’ll either be snuffed out due to lack of revenue or forced to adopt greener practices. Money makes the world go around and since consumers provide steady cash flows to companies all over the world, we have the power to dictate the environmental practices of the biggest conglomerates in our economy. All we have to do is realize and seize this power by changing our consumption practices!
#1 UNDERSTAND THE BRANDS YOU CONSUME
With the Internet, it’ll take you a couple of seconds to Google a company’s green profile. Some businesses have their green practices explicitly highlighted. For instance, here at Timeqube, we’re huge tree-huggers and plant a tree for every Timeqube sold. Other companies might highlight this in their individual CSR initiatives. However, it’s important to look into each business’s day-to-day practices as well. Some questions you might want to ask are: what are their outsourcing practices? Is any green certification available? Are their actions in line with the stance they’ve claimed?
Once you’ve ascertained that the brand is credible, go ahead and support them!
#2 NOT ALL BRANDS CAN BE GREEN… BUT YOU STILL CAN BE!
Of course, not all brands are at that point where their entire supply chain supports greener practices. It’ll then be on you to mitigate their environmental impact! Recycle any excess plastic packaging that you get from online deliveries. Shopping bags can be reused. Old cotton shirts can be used as cleaning rags. There are so many ways to give waste items a new purpose. All it takes is some creativity and imagination!
#3 PRE-LOVED? YES PLEASE!
Online platforms like Depop are a great place to buy and sell pre-loved goods! Don’t be afraid of the label “pre-loved”. These items can be in great condition, and often are really cool things that can’t be bought in-store anymore! For instance, you might find vintage bags, out-of-season jackets or even brand new shirts that simply didn’t fit their original owners right.
A LITTLE LOVE GOES A LONG WAY!
At the end of the day, sustainable consumption really isn’t that difficult! Just be aware, be thorough and put in just a tiny more effort to change the way you consume. It’ll definitely go a long way!