In a world full of mega sales, fast fashion, synthetic materials, and machine made goods -- sometimes being determined to shop ethically can feel like you’re swimming against the current. As the general population spends more and more on things (really, we spent 325 times more than that last year buying stuff), it is becoming increasingly important to shop ethically whenever and wherever you can. Being an ethical shopper is one of the most important things we can do for our world, and if you’ve got any of these 10 signs you’re an ethical shopper, you’re on the right path!
1. You Shop Less Often, More Mindfully
You’re the kind of person that stops to think “do I really need this?” before buying just about anything. Overconsumption is an unfortunate pastime for Americans, and it’s taking a toll on our planet and our livelihoods. Investing in high-quality or reusable goods can help minimize purchases.
2. You Check for Certifications and Ratings
We are fortunate to have easy access to researching various certifications on our phone as we shop. Seeing labels like “B Corporation”, “1% for the Planet”, and “Fair Trade Certified” help you as a consumer know that the product you are about to buy has been held to a high standard of social and economical good. You can learn more about what these labels look like and what they mean here.
3. You Make Purchases to Vote with Your Dollars
The organizations, certifications, and business standards listed previously not only help ethical consumers identify which brands to buy from -- but these seals of approval also help influence political change. This means that if we as consumers continue to seek out and buy from ethically certified brands, more companies and businesses will certify.
“As consumers we have so much power to change the world by just being careful in what we buy.” -- Emma Watson
4. You think of the lifetime value of an item before you purchase
When you purchase an item -- you think of it’s lifetime with you, not the instant gratification of the purchase. You think of all the times you might be able to wear a piece of clothing, or all the places you’d take a new bag, or all the meals you might prepare in your ethically made cookware. When you buy investment pieces, they should be created to last. Plus, taking the time to curate fewer pieces that will last longer will have about the same impact on your budget as a surplus of items that will only last a short time.
5. An alarm sounds in your head when you see super sales
Once you start to understand and visualize the “true cost” of the products you buy -- when you see them on super super sale it can serve as a red flag. When you factor in labor, cost of materials, and importing costs -- it really makes you wonder how on earth a business could be selling a brand new shirt for just five bucks. We are all about transparency at Ixchel Triangle, you can get an idea of what our true costs look like below,
6. You love a good second hand find
Shopping resale is one of the best ways that clothes (and more) can be recycled. Buying second hand is a great way to still incorporate designers or trends that you love, without having to pay up and produce more waste in the process of purchasing them. Ethical shoppers can often be found on second hand apps like Poshmark, Tradesy, Offer Up, Facebook Marketplace, and many more!
7. You Shop Locally
Supporting small businesses has become more accessible than ever, as many small businesses have had to adapt to reach the most amount of people. When you shop small, you keep money in your local community instead of handing it to large corporations and their shareholders. Making the effort to research what small businesses may carry the goods you are already looking for is a simple way to incorporate shopping small.
8. You Bank with a Responsible Financial Institution
Where you store your dollars can end up making as much of an impact as where you spend them. Ethical shoppers know that the banks where they keep their money are making an impact too -- whether it be bad or good. You can search for a bank or credit union that’s committed to social and environmental values -- like local community development advancement institutions or online banks, like Aspiration Bank.
9. You Know the Good That Comes from Shopping Ethically
Our friends at “Do Good” put together some powerful facts that prove voting with your dollars works.
- Child labor rates dropped by over one third between 2000 and 2017, and they’ve continued this downward trend since then.
- According to the 2019 Ethical Fashion Report from Baptist World Aid Australia, 24% more fashion companies have committed to paying their workers a living wage, and 61% are investing in using sustainable fabrics.
- 56% of us have stopped buying from brands we consider to be unethical.
10. You Invite Your Friends and Family to Join You!
Ethical shoppers are educators and world changers. They find some of the greatest products that artisans and makers have to offer -- and they are the first to share them with their friends and family! Ethical shoppers share statistics like the ones above, and invite others to vote with their dollars, too!
So, are you an ethical shopper? Can you embrace any of these signs you’re an ethical shopper that you maybe aren’t already? Can you share these with your friends? Let’s make the world a better place, one ethical shopper at a time!