There's no doubt that Covid-19 has turned the world upside in so many ways - many of them for the worst. But in the midst of all the upheaval is a hidden opportunity as consumers to refocus on small, local , sustainable and ethical.
But if you're feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of navigating the world of conscious consumerism, don't worry - you don't have to go it alone! Although the internet has been hijacked in many ways by fast fashion, it is also being used to further the cause of slow fashion and there is a whole host of tools available at your disposal. These are some of our picks to guide your ethical shopping journey.
These are a great way to search Instagram and connect with small businesses doing things ethically and sustainably. Insta is a wonderful platform for discovering even the tiniest stores and remotely located artisans no matter where they are in this vast country. This has never been done better than in the recent #buyfromthebush campaign which took Australia by storm. Suddenly rural businesses who had been devastated by the ongoing effects of the drought had access to a global audience and it warmed our hearts to see the smiles on faces and the pics of piles of parcels on their way to the post office!
The Buy from the Bush campaign was founded by Grace Brennan in October 2019 and the timing was perfect with the lead-up to Christmas. Bush businesses still need your help though and many have faced one tough scenario after another with bushfires followed by Covid-19 lockdowns. Directly following the bushfires which threatened so many of our rural areas across the country, another great campaign was created by motivational speaker Turia Pitt using the tag #spendwiththem .
“We wanted to do something right now that would make a difference to [these businesses] and would continue to support them for months, and hopefully years, to come.” Pitt says of the fire-affected businesses the campaign has aimed to bolster.
2. Facebook Groups
Look for groups on Facebook that have been created specifically for your local area or an area that you would like to support. If you're looking to purchase online and have your products delivered, there are general groups aimed at supporting small businesses such as the #shopsmall group which has nearly 10 000 members. Groups are great for personal recommendations and for when you're searching for something specific but don't know where to go outside the standard chain store offerings.
Following on from the success of Buy from the Bush, there are groups such as Buy From a Bush Business with close to 250k members. Rurally located businesses and artisans alike post their wares or you can put the call out for that item you've been searching for.
Join Sustainable Hosiery Australia's group Sustainable Shopping Australia to connect with like-minded people and learn and share tips for conscious living.
Sometimes using search engines can lead you around in circles when searching for ethically made goods and its so frustrating when you find the perfect site only to discover they are located overseas! Locally based directories dedicated to promoting sustainable and ethical businesses are a fantastic way to connect with Australian websites and businesses.
Ekkoworld is a site which strives to shift more power to businesses that are committed to making eco easy. On here you'll find a treasure trove of environmentally friendly options from fashion to food to waste management solutions.
Remember, every purchase is a big deal and greatly appreciated by small business and small actions such as making an effort to purchase ethical and sustainable add up to a big difference collectively - so don't be discouraged about starting small!
We would love to hear from you about how you've successfully made the switch to support small, ethical and sustainable business and what tools you have used to help you get there.