Personal Finance By News Canada 225 Views

Shopping with a clear conscience

(NC) As we become more aware of the impacts of our actions and purchasing decisions on the world around us, the move towards conscious consumption is a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. If you want to make sure the items you buy won’t do more harm than good, here are some savvy consumer tips on from an expert in responsible shopping:

Longevity. Start by seeing how you can reduce your carbon footprint. One of the simplest ways to do this is by reducing the number of things you buy overall, which is easy when you choose well-made, high-quality items that will last longer. Whether it’s clothing or cutlery, instead of spending a little on a lot, look for ways to cut down by investing in fewer pieces that will stand the test of time. Research the brand and check out consumer reviews to make sure you’re getting durability and value.

Ethical. You can feel good about your purchases when you know the people and animals involved in the production process have been treated humanely and fairly. Do your research to find companies that pay workers locally or in developing countries employers that provide a living wage and offer good working conditions. When it comes to food and anything made with animal by-products, it’s important to find associations or organizations that offer certifications for ethically sourced items.

Sustainable. Go green by choosing natural materials and avoiding synthetics where possible. For clothes, wool, cotton and linen are better than polyester and rayon. For bedding and winter coats, down is the most sustainable choice. This eco-friendly material has the lowest carbon footprint of all insulating materials, and all by-products from down processing are biodegradable, unlike polyester, which is not.

Look for the Downmark label that certifies the product adheres to strict quality standards and ethical harvesting practices. Find more information at downmark.org.