We'll show you 5 ways that you can shop ethically in the 21st century:
1. Shop cruelty-free
It is important that every product that you purchase has not been involved in the harm of an animal at any point in its production. This means that you need to take great care when purchasing your beauty products and household cleaners to be sure that they have not been involved in animal testing.
This can take a lot of research because you need to find out not only about the attitudes of the brand that you are purchasing from but also any parent companies involved. Look out for the leaping bunny symbol from Cruelty-Free International where you can – it tells you that a product is free from harm at all levels.
2. Reward brands making the effort
Brands are really starting to wake up and realise that the consumer wants the ability to shop ethically. This means that many are making concerted efforts to bring you products that aren't harmful in any way. Bonds, for example, have set themselves the target of diverting all their waste from landfill by 2020. These are the types of initiatives that we should be getting behind where we can so that we can send a message to big business as to what we want.
3. Reduce and reuse
Sometimes the best way to shop ethically is simply not to shop. We are all over consuming, we have too many items in our wardrobes, for instance, or shelves full of beauty products. Consider cutting back where you can, after all, producing these products does use up our valuable natural resources and also increases pollutants in our air. Stop and think each time you want to purchase something new. Is it essential? Could you make do with something you already own or could you purchase the item second-hand elsewhere?
4. Buy local
Where you can, there are loads of great reasons to shop locally. This is especially important when it comes to food because choosing locally grown produce drastically reduces your carbon footprint. Plus buying locally supports your community. Putting money in the pockets of small business owners is certainly better than giving to those who are already richer than any of us could dream to be.
Much of shopping ethically is about using your own purchase power to send a message to manufacturers about what you will tolerate from them. It is possible to boycott powerful corporations. By boycotting brands who have practices that you are not happy with you can send a message to them that the way they act is not acceptable. Do your research and find out about the ethics behind some of the biggest brands and start boycotting those that you find the most repugnant.