Something you may often consider before making a purchase, no matter how big or small, is sustainability. Sustainable products are defined as ones which ‘provide environmental, social and economic benefits while protecting public health and environment over their whole life cycle, from the extraction of raw materials until the final disposal’.
Knowing that the products you buy have not only been designed and constructed with these goals in mind, but also with a view to what you will do with them after you’ve finished using them, means that the company has carefully considered every aspect of their process.
Here are just 6 reasons to buy sustainably made products wherever possible.
Send a Message To Companies
By making a conscious decision whether to buy an item or not, you are sending a message to that company. Choosing to buy a product is, in fact, an endorsement of it by you as a consumer. You can also engage in negative buying, which means that you are actively choosing not to buy a particular product or brand.
We’ve seen this happen time and time again when brands have made decisions that haven’t gone down well with their consumers and people have stopped buying their products. It also happens when there is a major defect with a product and people shy away from buying it again.
As consumers, we have an enormous amount of power and we should be using it wisely to send a message both when there are things we are unhappy about and also when companies put a foot in the right direction.
Encourage A Change Via Consumerism
Leading on from this, by voting with your wallet and sending a message to a company engaging in unethical or unsustainable practices, you will be actively encouraging a change in that company’s policies, procedures and even ethos. You might think what difference can one person really make in the way that major international brands operate, but as a collective consumer force, we really do have more power than we realise.
A great example of this was the boycott of Nike back in the 1990s. Consumers were enraged to discover that Nike was using sweatshops to manufacture its goods and so decided to boycott the entire brand. Nike soon introduced a code of conduct for all their factories and now spends millions of dollars a year making sure this code is followed. This would never have changed without people making a conscious decision to support these unethical practices.
Don’t Contribute To Unethical Work Practices
It’s a sad reality that because of the drive from consumers to have everything faster and cheaper, something has to suffer. And that something is usually the process of sourcing and manufacturing a product. This means that more often than we can to imagine, companies either directly or indirectly use unethical work practices. This usually translates to poor treatment of workers or suppliers in the chain. By supporting sustainable made products, you can be assured that no-one during the manufacturing or supply process is going to be getting a raw deal.
Protect The Environment
If you’re passionate about making sure our environment is protected, sustainability will probably at the forefront of your purchases. With things like massive palm oil plantations taking over many Asian countries and the Amazon rainforest being destroyed to make way for cattle ranches, we now, more than ever, need to think carefully about where we spend our money and what kind of environmental practices the companies we buy from support.
Support Animal Welfare
Not only does sustainability apply to the treatment of people in the supply chain but also animals. Knowing how companies treat the animals involved in the production of their goods will tell you a lot about what they consider to be important – creating a product that is ethical or making an extra few dollars for their bottom line.
Sustainable Often Means Quality
Generally speaking, sustainable products are often of a much higher quality than mass-produced ones. This is usually reflected in the price of items too. You might think it’s cheaper to buy the more affordable option – but in the long run you could easily rebuy some items 3 or 4 times, whereas if you invest in a sustainably made item, even though it might cost you more upfront, it may actually work out to be the more cost-effective option in the long run.
How often do you think about sustainability when it comes to your purchases? Let us know in the comments.