One choice can have an impact

As customers, we encourage companies to produce products and provide services that make our lives easier. Until recently I was one of those people who consumed. However, I have never been in the extreme, I have a few more extra pairs of shoes and pieces of clothing, but I am learning to adapt and reduce my purchasing choices, and even adopt a more minimalist approach in everything I do. But how do we explain that making an ethical choice today of not purchasing a garment, food, or something that will make my life easier, how does my one single decision impact the company?

Well while I sound alone in the process of transformation, I am meeting more people who make similar choices like me. We strive for a good quality of life, clean air and nature, and opportunities to develop our potential. But we may be approaching it from different angles. Some of us care more about the environment, and we make choices based on how the products are produced, their environmental impact, carbon emission, and water footprint. Others focus on the economic aspect, how to make the business more sustainable and kinder to people and the planet.

The last group represents people like me who place people at the center. I have recently become more aware of the actions that can I take today to become more adaptable and resilient to the future. I also make better choices about my purchasing habits, and I think well beyond the coffee I pleasantly drink every morning and the piece of chocolate I divulge every afternoon. I question what it takes, and how many lives have I been affected by these choices. And I must be honest, I have always looked at it from the perspective that my choices today support the economy, they create jobs and people live better off.

My naïve outlook changed and today I ask, “How many vulnerable people were involved in the production of my aromatic cup of coffee and the sweet and delicious piece of chocolate?”. I will continue enjoying all the things I love, but I will embrace my power as a consumer and try to find the answers about the production processes and how my choices today ensure that there is no exploitation and discrimination of vulnerable people in the supply chain. I have met more people like me who share my philosophy of “less is more” and apply the principles of “choice reduction”.  Whether consumer rights are human rights is a topic that requires further analysis, however, through our choices and exercising our rights as customers we can drive positive change and encourage responsible business conduct with care for the planet and respect for people.