The Majority of Australians Support Ethical Purchasing, Are You One of Them?
Ethical purchasing can take on a number of forms. For some, it’s about buying cruelty-free food products. For others, it’s about avoiding companies with negative track records. But for all of us, unless we do the digging ourselves, we often aren’t told where our purchases are made, what materials or methods have been used, the conditions of the people or animals involved, or what happens to the environment as a result.
So what’s the current state of ethical purchasing in Australia? According to a recent study:
- 91.5% of respondents say that having ethical alternative choices available to them as consumers is at least somewhat important.
- 20.8% claim it is extremely important.
- 41.3% say they would only purchase an ethical product over a non-ethical product if it has the same monetary value. This stands across most categories including technology devices, coffee, furniture and home appliances.
Why is ethical purchasing important?
While it’s easy to make purchases based on convenience and price, it’s important to remember that every purchase has an impact – no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Before purchasing, consider if any of the below may have occurred:
- Workers who make our clothes are treated inhumanly
- Local communities are stripped of power
- Natural resources are exploited
- Animals aren’t given protection
- The environment suffers to create a product/service
This is why ethical purchasing is important, as being more discerning with our choices helps reduce negative impacts on people, animals and the world we live in.
As an example, buying Fairtrade is a great way of ensuring farmers and producers are paid fairly for their produce, their work is environmentally sustainable, the workers are protected, and that premiums are used to invest in local ethical projects.
How can you improve your ethical purchasing?
- Read industry reports and actively seek out information about companies. The more you know, the easier it is to change your behaviour.
- It’s best to learn about one issue at a time. This will help you make better choices about the products you take off the shelves, or the clothes you decide to buy.
- Plan your purchases ahead of time, focus on quality, and give yourself more time to choose environmentally and socially responsible alternatives to avoid unnecessary consumption.
- You can also download ethical consuming apps such as Good On You and Shop Ethical!. These allow you to judge brands according to their ethical performance of how they treat people, the planet and animals.
Joining the majority
In Australia, consumers have a huge amount of power in their pockets. So it goes without saying – your choices matter. Ethical purchasing is about realising the real cost of things, and understanding the connections we have with the world around us. Ultimately, the more connections you see, the better decisions you’ll make.
Author: Shay de Silva