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A Cultural Shift Toward Conscious Consumerism

Posted by Mark Godsell-Fletcher on

According to the Guardian, the retail manufacturing industry is the second most polluting industry on earth, with only “1% of the materials used to produce our consumer goods still in use six months after sale”: price and speed of delivery trumping value and quality craftsmanship. However, the tide seems to be turning with green living and conscious consumerism undoubtedly on the rise throughout the world, with many individuals and businesses already switching on to a more ecologically friendly way of life, and many others making the effort to get started. [caption id="attachment_6140" align="aligncenter" width="479"]reclaimed -1 All of our products are manufactured using 100% reclaimed wood[/caption] With undeniable scientific evidence, and the internet being a major contributor to general awareness of such issues, our generation is part of a movement that has begun to understand the impact that we are having on the Earth, and are therefore doing their bit to help. According to the same Guardian article, a third of UK consumers are showing growing concern as to the origin of the products that they consume. The guilt that people are made to feel for the environmental harm produced by the manufacturing of these products has led to a rise of individuals feeling like 21st century martyrs: giving up on the latest clothing and home décor fashions in order to reduce their environmental impact. However, there is no need for there to be a great sacrifice. Many fashion bloggers are boasting about being able to buy a multitude of clothes for very little cost, simply by buying them from charity shops. This works very well with the throwaway lifestyle of wearing something once or twice and then throwing it away: if it costs pennies to buy it and can then be given back to a charity shop, their carbon footprint is minimal and their wardrobe is always fresh. [caption id="attachment_6141" align="aligncenter" width="672"]Our Qube coffee table, made from 100% reclaimed wood Our Qube coffee table, made from 100% reclaimed wood[/caption] One of the supposed blockages to this cultural shift toward more ethical consumerism, is that although many individuals voice concern over ecological matters, they are too strapped for time and cash to do anything about it. They therefore look to manufacturers, retailers or brands to carry out the good work for them. Indeed, with the possibility of shopping around online, it’s now possible to find out if a specific shop or brand is ethical in just a short few clicks. For example, we make a point of highlighting exactly where our reclaimed wood is sourced – and can even inform customers where we sourced the beams used to make their products when asked. As more companies are consciously trying to make the effort to bring out sustainable products: their target market is changing, therefore they must too. No longer regarded as dirty, tree hugging hippies, people wanting to live a greener lifestyle are actually considered to be cool, savvy and ethically minded nowadays. Fashion labels are striving to bring out sustainable lines, many design companies are creating furniture made from sustainable sources such as reclaimed wood and salvaged parts, and even car manufacturers are looking to reduce the environmental impact of their products. This shift creates transparency between the consumer and the brand, and in fact creates inspiring stories about the brand: it becomes a lifestyle that consumers want to be a part of. So although individuals may continue to purchase unethical products (such as mass produced furniture) for ease, money and time, we believe that a cultural shift is in place that will make people purchase their goods from more ethical sources, as not only does this reduce their carbon foot print, the products are of a much better quality – being second hand or reclaimed from other uses, they have already proven that they can stand the test of time.

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