Have you ever opted for an organic product while purchasing groceries? Maybe you had picked up some make-up or toiletries that are cruelty-free and not tested on animals? These simple, yet profound purchase decisions about the products that you are buying and the brands or companies that you are showing your support for through the purchase you are making is known as conscious consumerism. The well-known phrase “Customer is King” is true especially when it comes to the so-called conscious consumerism myth.
What is conscious consumerism?
There is a massive detrimental impact that consumerism is having on the environment, personal life-style, and ethics of the world. A conscious consumer is essentially the consumer who is focussing more on making positive impacts throughout their offline and online shopping process, with the main intention of balancing out the detrimental impacts that the old-fashioned consumerism is having on society and the planet at large.
To know what is conscious consumerism, you must first understand the concept of responsibility. The conscious consumer believes in being responsible and taking a step in the right direction, no matter how small. Therefore, you can also call the conscious consumer a responsible consumer.
This kind of responsible consumerism is instrumental in promoting sustainable methods of farming and other such eco-friendly methods of production, it also focuses more on reducing the waste and not producing more products than what is absolutely necessary. Some of the other notable factors that drive conscious consumerism are also the idea of equality in payment of workers and also a moral and humane working practice for the laborers in the production and manufacturing industry.
How to become a conscious consumer?
The fact is that conscious consumerism is a thing that is most popular only in developed countries where the people have an option to choose and are more aware of their power that they hold as consumers in society. So they are able to look more closely at the businesses that they are supporting and buying from, although this luxury is not affordable to consumers living in developing or third-world countries, there are still a few key characteristics of conscious consumers that can be found all across the globe, even in poor countries.
Just like voting, conscious consumers are able to use their individual actions in a responsible manner to create a global impact on a large scale. To understand how to become a conscious consumer you must first realize your buying power in the form of voting by using your purchase decisions to support only those businesses that are promoting the values that responsible consumers are seeing as important and commendable.
This radical form of consumerism is quite popular among the young generation of people such as GenZ and also a large chunk of the Millennials. Older people however, are yet to be influenced by conscious consumerism. However, this can be done through awareness campaigns by the youth and politicians.
Why does conscious consumerism matter?
The traditional consumerism is responsible for tremendous atrocities committed each and every year such as; forced child labor, horrible working hours for laborers, tremendous environmental damage, pollution on a massive scale, and many other such environmental and ethically related problems. The reason why conscious consumers matter is because they are the ones who take responsibility for these issues and try to address them to the best of their efforts.
This requires courage and determination, even if it is an action as little as picking up an organic product instead of a normal one, just because it would have a better impact on the environment. Since this action is a little one, many people regard conscious consumerism as a myth, but this is not true, because even an ocean is composed of over thousands of billions of drops of water, but at the end of the day the entire ocean is ultimately made up of just drops of water.
What are the effects of consumerism?
Traditional consumerism has had a hugely detrimental impact on the environment. It has been proved to be disastrous to the environment in the long run, it is also a major contributor to poverty around the world (as a result of big corporations exploiting the workforce), it has also contributed in some cases to global hunger in third world countries even though it is gathering an enormous wealth, it is also related to other social, political, as well as other economical problems.
What are the effects of consumerism on land and other natural resources?
The way that land is exploited commercially to produce food on a large scale is having a huge impact on the way that the environment functions and also its long term sustainability. Many junk food chains of so-called fast-food restaurants which include some of the major companies like KFC and McDonalds, and Pizza Hut have been taken to court by many of the major environmentalist groups belonging to various countries where there are large scale factories of the above giants.
There has been a large scale intensive breeding of poultry & livestock for the profit of such restaurants which has led to deforestation to build those huge factories in the outskirts of cities and also land degradation, as well as contamination of water as well as other natural resources that are indigenous to the area in which they are operating.
Conscious consumerism is the absolute need of the hour among both the developed countries as well as the developing countries because the impacts of traditional consumerism are way too detrimental to be ignored. We must make ourselves as well as our friends aware of the atrocities that traditional consumerism is committing and take responsibility ourselves by deciding to shop online and offline from brands and companies who are making an effort to make our planet a better place by adopting eco-friendly methods of production and ethical values in their workforce and labor management. It is our duty as consumers to make this choice and take responsibility.