We’re all becoming more aware of issues from climate change and plastic pollution to waste and unethical labour practices in big industries like fashion and food.
As we wake up to these issues, it’s natural that we want to start changing our behaviour as consumers and try to have a positive impact when we spend money.
Studies show that 75% customers would refuse to purchase a product if the company they were buying from supported an issue contrary to their beliefs.
Reports show that 2017 was the most ethical year yet, so as consumers we are clearly demanding more from the brands we buy from.
According to the Ethical Consumer Ethical Markets Report, the overall value of ethical spending grew by 3.2% to £81.3 billion in 2017 – the highest total so far.
Many of us will be entering the new year with resolutions to have a more ethical impact, but apparently 88% of people who make New Year’s Resolutions fail, and most of us will give up by the end of the first week!
So how can we make sure our ethical resolutions stick?
Challenges are a great way to get involved and give something a go – usually with the support of a social media community behind you too, which makes it more likely you’ll succeed.
If you want to live more ethically in 2018 but don’t know where to start, why not try one of these ethical challenges?
Beauty subscription box The Pip Box was founded by Sofi after her love of animals led her to make the switch to cruelty-free makeup and toiletries.
Going cruelty-free can involve a lot of research and trial and error to find good alternatives. Inspired by her own journey, Sofi decided to help others make the switch.
Every month The Pip Box sends you a gorgeous selection of cruelty-free beauty products (and there’s a vegan box option too!)
I’ve been a Pip Box subscriber for a while now and it’s definitely made my own transition to cruelty-free easier. I’ve discovered some brilliant new products along the way!
The Pip Box’s Facebook page is a fantastic resource for anyone wanting to learn more about going cruelty-free, and to make things easier they’re running a #4WeeksToCrueltyFree campaign throughout January.
Follow along on their Facebook or Instagram. Every day they’re sharing a different fact or resource to help you spot cruelty-free brands, find out more about animal testing and generally make your new year more animal friendly.
Plus if you share your own journey to cruelty-free on social media using the hashtag #4WeeksToCrueltyFree you could win a subscription to The Pip Box!
I’ll definitely be sharing some images of all the lovely Lush products I got for Christmas and can’t wait to see what’s included in my January Pip Box.
Find out more and join in on their Facebook page.
Bloomtown Eco Challenge
Palm-oil free beauty brand Bloomtown (who I discovered through The Pip Box) are running an Eco Challenge throughout 2018 to encourage people to buy more environmentally friendly products and ditch the single-use plastic and palm oil.
Palm oil appears in so many everyday products like food and toiletries. It’s cheap to produce but large scale production is unsustainable and it’s causing major problems including deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses.
300 football fields of rainforest are cleared every hour for palm oil production! (The Green Stars Project have a useful guide to palm oil on their blog if you’d like to learn more).
Preyanka and Medwin, the founders of Bloomtown, spent two years in Indonesia and witnessed first hand the devastation that palm oil production is causing.
This inspired them to eliminate palm oil from their lives and create a truly palm-oil free and cruelty-free beauty brand.
Now they’re helping others eliminate palm oil from their lives too with their 2018 Eco Challenge!
Every month simply replace one product with a palm-oil free and/or plastic free alternative, and write about it on social media using hashtag #BloomtownEcoChallenge.
At the end of each month they will be picking one lucky winner who will receive a £25 Bloomtown gift card!
By breaking it down to one product switch a month, you can do your research and find an alternative product that really works for you. Taking it slowly makes it easier and more likely to stick.
I recently switched to using bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic ones, so my first month will be all about finding a palm oil and plastic free toothpaste to match!
Take the pledge and find out more here.
Going vegan is predicted to be the biggest food trend of 2018. Over 542,000 people now follow a vegan diet in the UK, an increase of more than 3.5 times the number of vegans over the past decade – making veganism one of Britain’s fastest growing lifestyle movements.
Supermarkets and restaurants are rising to this demand and creating more vegan options, so it’s easier than ever to adopt this lifestyle.
Many people go vegan because of their love of animals, but it’s also a more environmentally friendly way of living too.
Veganuary is a month-long pledge to try a vegan diet throughout January, and if you like it, adopt it for the rest of the year too.
Around 120,000 people around the world have signed up this year, so if you want to give it a go you’ll have plenty of support!
The website has lots of details about why to take part and some delicious recipes to try too.
Food and diet is a very personal choice and what works for one person won’t work for another. Trying a challenge like Veganuary is a great way to discover new recipes and vegan alternatives and see if a vegan diet is right for you.
Find out more and take the pledge here.
30 day slave free resolution
30 day challenges are a great way to kick-start new habits. Slave Free Trade have made it their mission to eliminate global slavery, and they’ve developed a 30 day challenge for people to get involved.
Each day in January they are setting a simple task to help people engage with their message. It might be reading one of their blog posts, making a small donation or talking to people about the realities of slavery to raise awareness.
You don’t even have to move from your armchair to take part! Find out more and get involved on their blog.
Project 333 is a sustainable fashion challenge that encourages us to explore how much we have in our wardrobes and what we really need.
You can start this challenge any time throughout the year. It’s been going for a couple of years now so there’s a big community of fans on social media ready to help and support – check out the hashtag #Project333 to connect with them.
The idea is that you dress with 33 items or less for 3 months.
Choose 33 items from your current wardrobe – this includes clothing, accessories, jewellery, outerwear and shoes, but not underwear, sleepwear, workout clothes or sentimental jewellery you never take off (like a wedding ring).
Box everything else up and put it away, just keep your 33 items in your closet. If your clothes don’t fit or become damaged you can replace them throughout the 3 months, but the idea is to only have 33 items in your capsule wardrobe the whole time.
Project 333 is a great way to discover how to build a capsule wardrobe, detox your clothes collection and declutter. What better time to start than the new year? Find out more and sign up here.
We’ve been discussing ethical new year’s resolutions a lot in the #EthicalHour Facebook group and Twitter chat. I’m impressed to see how many people are determined to cut back on plastic (myself included) and reduce their waste, and I’m looking forward to seeing how we all get on.
Personally, I like to think of my resolutions as goals for the year. I know they won’t be easy, but it’s a journey and every small step in the right direction makes a difference and gets me closer. Ethical living is a process!
I’m going to be cutting meat and fish from my diet and reducing my dairy consumption, as well as switching to plastic-free and reducing plastic waste wherever possible. Follow me on Instagram to see updates on how I’m getting on!
What ethical resolutions or goals have you set for 2018?