As more and more articles and reports are being published to make us aware of how our consumption is affecting the environment, it is also becoming easier and more desirable to make more informed ethical choices.
Read on for our top tips to evolve your spending habits and do your bit for a happier and healthier planet Earth.
1. Shop Brands Wisely
Shopping is a fun and satisfying way to express our taste and style, and yet we are becoming more and more aware of how our spending is fuelling catastrophic environmental pollution and unfair labour situations.
Many shops and brands that offer cheaper clothes are often able to do so due to the lack of fair wages, humane treatment and safe working conditions for the workers that are making them.
Spend some time researching your favourite brands to find out the labour practices that they utilise and promote.
Many may be involved in practices you deem unethical, but you may be pleasantly surprised by some high street shops and designers that have taken steps to improve their sustainability ratings in recent years.
2. Invest in Quality Over Quantity
An effective way to shop more sustainably is to make more considered choices about what you buy.
Making less frequent but deliberate purchases of high-quality goods that will last you for years to come, rather than buying lots of fast fashion garments that won’t last long in your wardrobe.
When it comes to clothes and accessories, look for classic pieces that will stay in fashion with each new season and year, made to a high quality that will endure frequent wear.
Look to the many new brands that have emerged in recent years that focus on sustainability.
These brands work to create fashionable and classic garments using the most ethical and sustainable practices.
Many brands reuse, repurpose and redesign second-hand garments and materials to produce far more desirable pieces that appear to be brand new.
Although these brands can often appear to be a more expensive option, the clothes are designed to be long-lasting additions to your wardrobe so that you will get your money’s worth (while doing your bit for a healthier and fairer environment).
3. Buy Fairtrade
When you are hoping to make more ethical decisions in your day to day life, choosing to buy Fairtrade products is an easy and impactful way to do your bit for a better world.
Fairtrade means that the people involved in growing, manufacturing or building your product were paid a sustainable living wage.
This is a stark contrast to the usual processes behind many products, where families are forced to live on low wages despite their valuable hard work.
Buying Fairtrade enables you to do your bit to promote a fair economy that can grow and develop.
Whether you are doing your weekly shop in the supermarket or shopping for gold jewellery, look for the Fairtrade symbol and make an informed choice that supports a fairer and more equal world.
4. Choose Conflict-Free Jewellery
Today it is easier than ever to make informed decisions when it comes to purchasing jewellery.
There can be many human rights and social implications in the process of jewellery-making, and to become a more ethical consumer it is more important than ever to consider where jewellery is sourced and diamonds are mined before committing to a purchase.
In 2003, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was put into action to protect the process of sourcing and trading diamonds.
Throughout history, conflict diamonds have been known to fuel wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The term ‘blood diamond’ refers to diamonds that do not fall within the Kimberley Process Scheme, often the result of smuggling, violent tactics and rebel groups.
The Kimberley Process means that rough diamonds are transported across borders in secure containers so as to not be interfered with, thus reducing the trade of conflict and ‘blood’ diamonds.
Over 70 countries follow the Kimberley Process Scheme, including the UK and USA, with each diamond holding a conflict-free certificate.
Choose conflict-free diamonds for peace of mind that your diamonds have been sourced via the most ethical practices that cannot be traced to violent rebel group tactics.
Whether you are looking for special necklaces, future heirloom earrings or an engagement ring, make an informed choice with a diamond you can be sure was sourced ethically.
Another ethical choice is to choose man-made diamonds.
This particular kind of diamond not only appears identical to natural diamonds, but also has an identical chemical composition and hardness rating.
These diamonds have been made with a scientific process – recreating natural conditions within a laboratory environment.
This eliminates the possibility of inhumane and violent conditions being attached to your diamond, while still resulting in a sparkling diamond that many gemologists cannot differentiate from a natural stone.
Lab-created stones also come with the added ethical bonus of a reduced carbon footprint due to the low-energy processes utilised by labs.
In an age where individual ethical choices are becoming increasingly important and easier to execute, choosing ethically manufactured jewellery is a mindful step in the right direction.