It’s Hard out Here for a Conscious Consumer

Considering how much information about any given product is available these days, making informed ethical buys should be easier than ever. But it’s 2019 — so, no, it’s not. In fact, according to a recent piece from Fast Company, doing good consumer-wise is even harder than it used to be.

Why? Because there’s too much information, basically.

Written by the founder of Good.Must.Grow, and based on a recent study conducted by the firm, the story argues that, due to “complex, interdependent variables” and problems that are “historical and systemic in nature,” consumers are straight up lost in 2019, even though they want to do good.

As the story explains, the “majority of Americans still buy into the ‘do good’ movement,” it’s just that the “issues being addressed by social enterprises and mission-driven organizations are so nuanced and complex it’s almost unfair to ask the average consumer to make the right decisions all day, every day.”

Consequently, the seven-year study found that socially responsible shopping habits are “continuing to decline across the country,” with the “greatest slide among younger Americans, the poster children for being purpose-driven and socially responsible.” Yikes.

In the study’s words, consumers are “increasingly less optimistic about the world they live in, less confident in their ability to drive change, and less knowledgeable about how to make the ‘good’ choice when they purchase products and services.”

And that’s a pretty devastating takeaway if you think about it: in the past, prices scared customers away from responsible shopping — now it’s hopelessness. “Our capacity for change as individual consumers is being taxed,” the story says, and “we are not equipped with the tools to be successful.”

So what are those tools? Per the story “we have to simplify our terminology and make it much easier for consumers to do the right thing. We have to be honest with ourselves and admit we don’t have all the answers, while pressing ahead to quickly find them… And we must keep pressure on businesses and government to act with increasing urgency to address our biggest challenges.”

You can read more about it at Fast Company.

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