Power of the people

We all aspire for better. It’s human nature. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Today, though, better doesn’t have to mean more expensive or more extravagant or more covetable. If we go by the consumer-led movement forcing brands away from non-ethical and non-sustainable products, then it’s clear that better, beautiful and unique is working its way towards being kinder to the planet and its people.

In a recent consumer study conducted by Nielsen, 66 percent of participants from all over the world in the 15 to 20 age bracket said they would pay more for products from brands that are committed to making a positive social and environmental impact. But it isn’t only monied up Gen Z-ers that seem to care. At the other end of the scale, 51 percent of Baby Boomers (50- to 64-year-olds) are also willing pay more for products without the environmental baggage that has come with a lengthy era of mass consumerism. Conscious consumerism is creating change.

It’s a slower shift on the corporate side, though. A sharp left towards adopting sustainable practices from design through to production is no doubt costly. The fashion industry in Australia is estimated to be worth $28.5 billion and globally, almost $4 trillion. Astronomical figures by any measure, but equally astounding is the well-known fact that the fashion industry is second only to oil as the planet’s top industrial polluter, taking up 10 percent of the world’s carbon footprint (to get some perspective on that, the world’s entire aviation industry takes up two percent).

But let’s stay positive, the tide is turning. Big brands are now increasingly aware that their products need to be aligned with a more environmentally and socially conscious ethos, while independent brands lead the charge.

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