Last month we another great UnSectored Talk, co-hosted by our friends over at Blended Profit, about conscious consumption and what it means to “buy good.” The people at Punch Rock were nice enough to have us hang out in their space, and a great conversation ensued. A summary is below.
Summary of “Choose With Your Wallet: Making Conscious Consumption a Priority”
- Planning is important to act and behave more aligned with your values.
- One major question to consider as you make these decisions personally: Is consciously consuming a sacrifice? Are you giving up something by choosing a product that aligns with your values?
- It matters what meaning we attached to products and what we value as a society. If we value luxury or wealth, it will be harder to get people to change their behavior. But if we decide we value sustainability and making the world a better place, it will be easier.
- There are two primary impediments to people “buying good”: lack of information, and lack of convenience. If we can make information more accessible and transparent, and make it more convenient (including decreasing the price), we can get more people to buy good.
- People also prioritize the ways they “buy good” based on their own values. Each person values something different–an organization’s labor practices vs. their supply chain vs. their environmental impact–and it is difficult to cater to everyone’s individual values.
- This also creates different access points to get people engaged, however.
- There is also the issue of who defines “good”–what makes one product “good” versus another product? One organization can be good in the sense of their carbon footprint, but bad in the terms of how they treat their employees. If we want to get at systemic change, it might be important to look more at power structures that define our society, rather than the individual choices consumers make.
- To get more people to “buy good” we need to do two things: empower the consumer with information, but also make it easier to buy these products, either by decreasing the price or increasing access.
- It is important to educate individuals, because these changes only happen at the individual level, and do to that, we need to create a collective body doing this education.