Why Ethical Consumerism Deserves A Seat At The Table This Christmas

Christmas is one of the best times of the year. But every year, Christmas seems to get… bigger. More in-your-face, more colourful and, above all, more expensive. If you’re like a lot of woke folk this time of the year, you’re probably looking for how to pair happy memories of Christmastime with more ethical practices. At Protected Species, we’re interested in ways to make Christmas ethically merry and want to share some of our best ideas with you. Here’s what you need to know about how to be ethical at Christmas – and how to create memories that last not only due to merriment, but because they truly spread Christmas cheer in a way that has a lasting impact on the world.

Ethical consumerism

Image by Kenny Luo on Unsplash: Ethical consumerism at Christmas is important, but it’s also something you should practice all year ’round – like we do at Protected Species.

The Problem

Let’s face it: Christmas is a minefield. No matter who you are, there’s a good chance that your friends and family expect you to be thoughtful and generous this time of the year. The problem is that many of the cheap gifts you can buy online are produced through practices that simply aren’t ethical. The inexpensive gift you give your neighbour often comes at the expense of the person who was woefully underpaid to create it, or the person whose water was poisoned to process the materials it was made with. And how much joy do you really inspire with cheaply made gifts that end up in landfill come January, anyway?

The UK’s Response to Ethical Consumerism at Christmas

According to the Ethical Consumer Markets Report, ethical spending is growing in the UK. More and more people are searching for sustainable, planet-friendly, plastic-free ways to spread Christmas cheer. Sales of fair-trade products continue to grow as people seek out the options they know are ethical and environmentally-friendly. Yes, the world is changing in many ways for the better, the real issue is how to combine it with Christmas to make your family and friends happy but in the most ethical way possible. 

Ethical Christmas Gift Ideas

There are ways to give your friends and loved ones gifts they’ll appreciate and that are also produced in a way you can feel good about. The first step is to find out what the people in your life really want for Christmas. Yes, it may seem obvious, but you may be shocked to learn just how many people don’t find out what someone wants before they do their Christmas shopping. People’s need to surprise someone they care about can actually backfire if they give a gift the recipient doesn’t actually want or use. Find out what the people you’re buying for really need, then source it in a responsible way by shopping ethical products.

Are you afraid of ethical products because you think they’ll break the bank? Don’t be! You may be used to buying products that are inexpensive, but the expense is made up for down the line by someone who wasn’t paid a fair wage to produce it and was possibly subjected to an unsafe working environment to do so. When you practice conscious consumerism at Christmas and make an effort to source ethical products, you know the person who created them was treated and paid fairly, which means they’ll likely be products that were made to last rather than something cheap. Yes, ethically produced gifts can be more expensive, but you’re paying for higher quality and craftsmanship, so in the long run you may actually spend less.

Remember that the key to ethical consumerism at Christmas is to ultimately buy less and to choose well while you do it. Ultimately, you may spend the same amount of money you would have anyway, but on fewer items. If you simply can’t afford it, then don’t worry! Consider crafting your own gifts to make, such as cookies or candy. If you’re not a baker, then consider providing someone in your life with an experiential gift. Chances are you know a frazzled parent or two who would love to have you babysit for a night so they can go out and let their hair down! 

Christmas baking

Image by Food Photographer Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash: If you want to practice ethical consumerism at Christmas, then try your hand at baking something sweet for family and friends!

The Protected Species Difference in Ethical Consumerism

At Protected Species, we made it part of our mission to lead the performance-wear industry by utilising only environmentally sound principles. The waterproof fabrics we use to create our waterproof mac and waterproof winter parka are made to be friendly to the environment at every stage of the manufacturing process. We use eco-energy, eco-materials and eco-engineering to bring you the best products with the smallest carbon footprint. We also invest in the communities that help us create our outerwear by supporting after-school programs and local hospitals, while also ensuring that every single employee is trained in a safe and supportive environment. You know when you buy Protected Species products that they’ve been made with care, not just for the consumer, but also for the planet and the people that have helped us produce it.

Are you feeling inspired to make this your most ethical Christmas yet? Good! Remember to talk to your family and friends, including the smallest ones, about the importance of conscious consumerism at Christmas and the small things they can do to make a big difference.

Featured image by Ben White on Unsplash