‘Conscious consumerism should be about positive change we can make’
There’s a growing desire to live better, and sustainability sits within that. There’s been a recognition that, as humans, our consumption isn’t a suitable long-term situation for the planet.
Businesses have an opportunity to help, not just by saying what is and isn’t sustainable but by creating a forum where people can learn and ask questions.
Don’t forget that ‘conscious consumerism’ isn’t just about environmental impacts but also the positive effect businesses can have socially and economically.
It’s not about having all the answers, it’s having the courage to say ‘This is the direction we want to go’ and being clear about that. We recognise that we’ll make mistakes. And, as new information comes into the market you might find out you’ve been doing some things wrong.
When it comes to making positive changes, independents shouldn’t be discouraged when comparing themselves to the bigger retailers. My advice is to communicate more effectively about what you’re already doing. Often, we’re not great at that. There’s a lot already being done, and small businesses are sometimes embarrassed to put themselves out there and shine a light on what they’re doing.
Let’s recognise the brilliant work that’s already been done by SMEs. Some of the stuff you might even take for granted as normal operating practices – working with smaller producers, asking questions around product messages – are actually sustainable measures.
We sometimes can’t work on price or speed, but we can work with people who want a particular way of living. The SME sector has never been more valuable and more recognised and there’s probably never been as much engagement with customers as there is now.
Find out what they want and how you can work towards providing it.