Conscious consumerism is all about having an awareness of the environmental and social impact of your purchases. As you are stocking up on retail for the holiday season, keep people and the planet at the forefront of your mind as you swipe that card. 

Environmentalism and ethical shopping are big issues that can seem overwhelming to tackle. It’s all about shopping mindfully. But how do you know the brand is ethical and truly conscious? Here’s what to look for when shopping consciously this holiday season. 

Sustainable Materials 

Overconsumption in the fashion industry has allowed for cheap products to be produced in mass quantities. While the price point is lower, the use of cheap materials has a huge price and takes a toll on the environment. (Hello landfills!)

When looking for green-friendly brands this holiday season, investigate what materials are being used to make your favorite products. Whether it’s makeup, hair products, or clothing, be sure that sustainable materials are on the label. According to BBC news, a few of the best sustainable textiles and fabrics are pineapple “leather” or piñatex, linen, Organic cotton, bamboo, and Lyocell.

Fair Treatment of Workers

Another thing to keep in mind when shopping consciously is whether the brand focuses on fair treatment of workers. Check out the company’s website for mention of ethical working conditions or a Code of Conduct. You might also check to see whether the website mentions where their factories are located. Is it a country or region known for exploitative or unsafe conditions for workers? Are workers paid a livable wage? These are all indicators of whether a brand is following ethical practiices. 

An Eco-Friendly Supply Chain

Eco-friendly practices in a supply chain are essentially practices that do not damage or deplete the Earth’s resources. In addition to recycled or organic materials, sustainable manufacturing processes include production techniques that are energy-efficient, use less water, and generate less waste. 

These practices should not be a secret. Eco-friendly supply chains are transparent and traceable, meaning that it’s possible to track where and how products are made.

A Sustainability Certification

In a world where greenwashing is common, aka misleading the public and investors about the positive environmental impact of a company’s products or processes, sustainability certifications are essential. These certifications track whether a brand is living up to its environmental, social, and ethical claims. Here are some examples of sustainability certifications to look out for: B Corp, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Cradle to Cradle, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Fairtrade International, and PETA-approved.