Five tips on how to be a conscientious consumer

1. Read between the lines

Whether we realise it or not, advertisements say a lot about a company’s ethics. Ask yourself: does the brand project an image that values women, different races and nationalities? If yes, you’re on to something. If, however, you’re seeing images of exploitation and negative stereotyping, it’s time to start asking questions.

2. Fashion fakery

Buying a knock-off version of that designer bag you’ve been eyeing for what feels like an eternity might seem like a good idea. Why spend more when you can spend less on an item that looks (almost) identical to the real thing? It’s easy to fall victim to this mindset. But these forgeries, for all the money they might save you, are not only illegal, but often come with an unsavoury hidden cost: sweatshop labour. Many of these are made in deplorable conditions where workers receive minimal to no pay. So the next time you plan a visit to Karama, consider window shopping instead and save up your dirhams for the real thing.

3. Label checking

Checking the label is another great way to investigate a brand’s sustainability. Read up on what kinds of materials are ecologically and socially sustainable, and be aware of the ones that cause harm. This can be applied to everything from food to fashion, beauty products to furniture, and even sport and fitness equipment. What about the location of manufacturing? If the country of origin leaves you with questions, take to your smartphone to do some on-the-go research.

4. Do more research

If the product doesn’t specify what it’s made of or where it’s from, visit the company’s website. A company’s online presence should, ideally, reveal important information about what the brand stands for, what materials it uses, where it manufactures its products and who it works with, but if it does not, or if you still have some doubts, contact the company directly. We realise that this will take a bit more effort on your part, but remember it never hurts to ask, and in the end, you’ll be better off for it. One simple email could save you from spending your hard-earned dough on a brand with questionable practices. And it may encourage those brands to think more carefully about how they do business. Monitoring websites, such as Positive Luxury, list the brands that follow sustainable design practices, while the Fatima Bint Mohamed Bin Zayed Initiative (FBMI) works with artisans in Afghanistan (pictured).

5 Less is usually more

With the rise of globalisation and affordable fashion, we are consuming more of everything than ever before. This may leave our wardrobes and homes brimming with stuff, but has obvious pitfalls in terms of wastefulness. So instead of buying items that are cheaper and produced by using environmentally unfriendly materials, consider buying higher quality goods in smaller quantities. Not only will this translate into a product that lasts longer and one that is better for the environment, but it will also, ultimately, save you money in the long run. Source Of Article: thenational.ae

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