Have you ever wondered how your everyday purchases could shape a better world?

Welcome to the world of ethical consumerism! An ethical consumer is someone who thinks carefully about the effects of their purchases on people, the environment, and society.

They try to cause less harm and contribute to making the world a better place through what they buy. Check out the video below for some examples of ethical consumerism:

Ethical consumers support companies that:

  • are environmentally friendly

  • treat workers fairly

  • respect and welcome all people

  • care about animal welfare

As an ethical consumer, you engage in an ongoing process where your small choices wield significant impact over time.

1. Embrace the 3 Rs

You have the power to make a positive impact on our planet by practicing the 3 R's.

Flaticon Icon Reduce

Next time you go shopping, stop and ask yourself: "Do I really need this?" Avoid impulse buying and aim for quality over quantity to reduce waste and save resources. It's a great way to save money, too!

Flaticon Icon Reuse

Instead of throwing things away, look for creative ways to give them a new life. It could be as simple as repurposing a glass jar into a cute storage container, or buying and passing on gently used clothes.

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When it's time to part ways with something, recycling is a fantastic option! By sorting items like paper, plastic, and glass, we give them a chance to be transformed into new products and stay out of landfills.

2. Research company practices

Before making a purchase, take the time to research the company's ethical practices.

Flaticon Icon Workers' rights

Support companies that:

  • provide a living wage to their workers

  • maintain safe working conditions

  • respect collective bargaining

  • promote diversity and inclusion

  • support work-life balance

  • work with ethical suppliers and contractors

Flaticon Icon Environmental impact

Choose products that:

Social causes

Support companies that:

  • promote social equity and justice

  • give back to their community

  • donate to charitable organizations

  • don't use animals for testing

3. Stay aware

Consume mindfully

It may be tempting to think that what you do won't matter, but you're wrong. Remember, being an ethical consumer is an ongoing process, and small choices can make a significant impact over time. So start with the person in the mirror:

  • Reflect on your shopping habits

  • Identify an area or a behavior you want to work on

  • Make a change

A South Park character explains how corporations reflect the consumers' ethics.

Provide feedback

Let companies know what you think about their ethical practices.

  • Shop at responsible businesses

  • Celebrate ethical practices

  • Share concerns over unethical practices

  • Encourage companies to improve their practices by spending your money elsewhere

  • Harness the power of social media to bring about change

Three hands holding phones that display a gift box, a shoe, and a purse with social media love reactions above

Quiz: Monica's Coffee Dilemma

Monica is very concerned about workers' rights and sustainability. She also loves coffee! Monica is worried about whether her local coffee shop is a place that she can ethically support.

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What steps can Monica take to determine whether the coffee shop meets her ethical standards?

A. Ask the owner where the coffee beans come from

B. See if there are recycling bins in the shop

C. Ask other people on social media

D.Ask the employees if they earn a livable wage and are treated fairly


Select all that apply:

Take Action

Reduce, reuse, recycle


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