What is Ethical Consumption
Ethical consumption, or ethical consumerism, is when a consumer makes the connection between the product, where it was produced and the context in which it was produced and makes a purchase decision based on those factors. Ethics is an essential part of sustainability in the apparel industry, measuring the effect of production on humans. Businesses are now taking a deeper look at the social and ethical impact of their actions due to rising awareness and demand among consumers. These consumers are now rightfully using their purchasing power to influence business to be more sustainable, ethical and accountable for their practices.
Can consumption ever be 100% ethical?
From a consumer’s perspective, try as they may, it is often very difficult to guarantee 100% ethical practices due to the lack of transparency of the full supply chain – from source to store. One may not be able to ascertain whether each and every single person involved in the production process – from the factory floor to the warehouse – has been treated fairly and ethically.
Ethical production and consumption are concepts that have very recently come into the public consciousness, resulting in multiple, broad definitions that can differ from industry to industry, and even person to person.
This subjective nature of ethical consumption and the constant evolution of its definition can make it confusing for consumers who are looking to be more discerning with their purchases.
There are, however, some very basic standards that everyone can agree on. For example, unsafe working conditions, illegal production methods that put both the worker and the environment in harm etc. – these are some examples of universally unethical practices that are distinctly negative.
So how can consumers practice ethical consumption within their individual capacities?
What Ethical Consumption Can Look Like
If you’re looking to be more discerning as a consumer on what you spend your money on, here are some ways you can engage in ethical consumption:
Brand Research – Businesses nowadays are increasing transparency about their production practices, both voluntarily and while bound by regulations. This makes it easier for consumers who wish to be more conscious about where they are spending their money to make a choice. Make sure that the brand that you’re looking to buy from is as transparent as possible about where and how their products are made. Do they give back to the community? Do they uplift their employees? Are they certified internationally?
Invest in quality – Mass-produced fashion is usually made of poor-quality materials, and workers are usually forced to work in bad conditions, as the garments are quickly produced to keep up with the latest trends. Patronising brands that invest in high quality, timeless apparel made in sustainable and ethical ways a.k.a. slow fashion brands will make you a more ethical consumer.
Invest in care – You can also be an ethical consumer after you’ve purchased your products. By investing in good quality cleaning apparatus and following care instructions, you can make your clothes last longer, and lengthening time in between replacements. Good washing machines and detergents also ensure that less micro-fibres are let into the sea.
At Rawbought, we are committed to ethical and sustainable practices from the very first stitch. Head here to read more about our commitment to environmental and social sustainability.