I think it particularly important that the extras, luxuries and nice to “haves” that one buys are the ones that need to go that extra mile not just to show value for money but also value for the environment and ethics.
(This post should have been or could have been entitled “I am no greenie saint….but I try in my own little way… now please can I have that bag!”)
Being a “greenie” and wanting make the greenest, most ethical and earth-friendly decisions is not always easy. In fact green decision-making and consumption is fraught with speed-bumps and pot-holes in the form of green wash, the misrepresentation of products as green, ethical, sustainable and or ecological friendly. Green, sustainability and environmental issues have been hijacked and often products are labeled as green/organic etc when in my opinion they are pretty far from green or good for the environment or the consumers. In many instances i try to buy green, ethical or sustainable products but end up buying products that don’t quite fit your/ or my idea of ethical, green or sustainable. A few examples are;
- Organic produce that ends up having the most awful carbon miles, having been shipped/flown in from a far off continent.
- Buying a natural, recyclable etc product but it has been made in a sweatshop with GM cotton or some other nasty type of raw material.
- Using a natural face cream (that doesn’t harm animals) but has resulted in the monoculture and deforestation (resource inputs such as palm oil, shea butter etc) of large tracts if land which has negatively affected the biodiversity of an area.
- Installing solar panels in your home in an attempt to reduce your carbon footprint only to find out that the panels are produced in a far off country that doesn’t really mind if you the solar panel factory is polluting the catchment within which it is located causing the ill-health and loss of livelihoods to entire villages etc….
And there I was thinking that I was making ethical consumption choices that would help the planet …. ??
So what is one to do….?? I guess in order to retain ones sanity and not over think each and every thing you end up consuming, the most logical thing make a difference where you can. The approach I take in trying to be a green consumer entails not blindly buying into advertising, green wash and misinformation etc by reading labels and using some logic. For me this implies (among other things)… trying to restrict my consumption patterns to;
- Needs as opposed to wants.
- Buying local, organic and ethical and making sure where possible that the claims about the product are not simply green wash.
- Being logical about labeling and checking labels
- Staying away from overly processed and packed products
- Staying away from GM… though this can be very difficultly considering that GM produce is not always labeled etc
Sometimes my wants become needs… (often this relates to fashion items… which surprisingly have quite poor green/ethical track records…given that fashion is often regarded a luxury etc ) and then I try to find a “good green thing“ about the lust-have product that is hopefully not negated by a long list of really bad things about the product/lust have that is occupying my every waking moment.
My latest lust have is a handbag. More specifically, a Paul Smith handbag. Not being a brand hag but really liking nice things…. I was initially quite confused by my need for this specific bag….. however, it seems that I have fallen hopelessly in love with the handbag.
It is a multi-colour, leather bag that would work with almost all of my clothes… in other words it is almost perfect. I would be able to wear it for a good few seasons ..(I don’t believe in blindly following the glossies or what the fashion gurus say is the it item etc so I don’t mind wearing stuff that is considered as being “ohh so five seasons ago)… so I think the bag would be a good buy. I could probably use it until it falls apart, and / or is recycled into something else or used by someone else. I could see myself being a little old lady and still using the bag…in other words I would be willing to commit to the bag….
It would seem that I have already justified the addition of the bag to my world…. But when I tried to research Paul Smith and their environmental/ sustainability policy, to try to shut up my conscience and make me feel better about wanting something that I don’t really need… I didn’t find any information!? Is this even possible? In this day and age surely I am not the only person wondering what this particular brand thinks/ does etc about being more ethical, sustainable and green?
Maybe they are taking the highroad and not green washing their products until they can stand by all their green and ethical claims…? … or maybe the brand is just not interested in ethical or green consumption?
Please can someone tell me that I am wrong? I really would like to be able to find something positive, ethical or green about Paul Smith? And I really would like to buy the bag…..