What is conscious consumption and why adhere to this lifestyle

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The idea of ​​conscious consumption is not new, but the understanding of its importance has gained strength in recent years.

No wonder the Study Lifestyles from Nielsen, in 2019, found that 42% of Brazilian consumers are changing their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

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But what is conscious consumption, in fact?

And why have people seen him with more priority? What is the importance of conscious consumption and how to consume consciously? Keep reading to understand better.

What is conscious consumption?

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Conscious consumption is a practice that aims to use natural and material resources in a more responsible and sustainable way, taking into account the social, environmental and economic impacts that are generated throughout the life cycle of products and services.

This means that, when consuming consciously, people:

  • they seek to acquire products that were produced with respect for the environment, that is, they seek companies that value this type of consumption and do not use greenwhasing;
  • prioritize the quality and durability of products and avoid waste and excessive consumption;
  • seek more sustainable alternatives for their everyday needs.

Conscious consumption is related to the development of a critical awareness of standards and recognition of the impact that each choice has on society and the environment.

It is a way of contributing to the preservation of natural resources and to building a more balanced and just society.

Therefore, it is both an individual posture and a collective and systemic concern, which depends on people, companies and governments.

Scenario of conscious consumption in Brazil and in the world

The theme of conscious consumption in Brazil and in the world is strong. He is one of the priorities, for example, of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Developmentfrom the United Nations (UN) — and that brings, with that, 17 goals for the planet.

In Brazil, the Action Plan for Sustainable Production and Consumption, of the Ministry of the Environment, is responsible for encouraging the sustainable practices envisaged by the UN.

But conscious consumption needs to be understood as a Brazilian practice. In the Nielsen study mentioned at the beginning of this article, in addition to the 42%, there are other statistics to highlight:

  • 30% of respondents are aware of the ingredients that make up the products;
  • 58% do not buy products from companies that test on animals;
  • 65% do not buy from companies associated with slave labor.

But it’s not just Brazil that joins this adoption movement.

A research of consumer behavior by Deloitte, in 2021, also revealed, as a global trend, that consumers are increasingly making conscious decisions with sustainability and the environment in mind.

More specifically, this research found that 61% of people have actively tried to reduce their use of single-use plastic in the past year.

And that was the most common action that individuals were taking in an attempt to live more sustainably. Another important statistic is that one in three consumers stopped buying from brands for ethical or sustainability reasons.

And businesses see it that way too. According to report “Twenty Years of Ethical Consumerism”, the size of ethical consumer markets in the UK has grown from £11.2 billion in 1999 to £122 billion in 2020, for example.

Why are people giving more importance to conscious consumption?

There is a movement of growing concern with conscious and responsible consumption. When thinking about Brazilians, among the factors is the fact that people perceive global problems to be more serious.

And, as shown by akatu researcha national organization specializing in the subject, with GlobeScan, a more direct experience with problems such as poverty, water pollution and discrimination against minorities, becomes a reason for adopting this lifestyle.

In the search, environmental problems predominate as the most serious for Brazilians , for example. Among them, we can highlight:

  • Water pollution;
  • Food shortage;
  • Depletion of natural resources;
  • Loss of animal and plant species;
  • Shortage of drinking water;
  • Air pollution;
  • Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest;
  • Single-use plastic waste;
  • Climate change or global warming.

In addition, the analysis also highlights the power of the consumer: he knows that he has a great commitment when choosing a product and, with that, a socio-environmental responsibility.

Together with the digitization of the process, this expands, as the virtual environment facilitates the perception of the problems that generate the need to become a conscious consumer.

As the study shows Meet the 2020 consumers driving changeby IBM, today’s active consumers are highly informed with specific demands regarding price, ingredients, delivery options and production methods.

This helps to understand what more conscious choices are and, above all, how to make them.

Benefits of adhering to conscious and sustainable consumption

The importance of conscious consumption Conscious and responsible consumption is also in the fact that it can bring many benefits, both for the individual and for society. Some of these benefits include:

  • reduction of environmental impact : conscious and sustainable consumption can help reduce the amount of natural resources used in the production of goods and services, as well as the amount of waste generated. This contributes to preserving the environment and mitigating the impacts of climate change;
  • financial economics : it can lead to significant cost savings in the long term, as the chosen products tend to be more durable and sustainable, avoiding unnecessary expenses with repairs or replacements;
  • appreciation of human rights : by choosing products from companies that value labor rights and decent working conditions, for example, the consumer contributes to the promotion of a fairer and more balanced society.

How to make conscious consumption?

Even if it is not just individual actions that can change the future of the planet and the environment, as a conscious consumer, people can adopt positive practices in this regard.

So how to consume consciously? Some ways to do this are:

  • Put together a shopping plan;
  • Reuse when possible;
  • Understand what is desire and what is need;
  • Avoid wasting food.

Understand better what each of these aspects means below.

Make a purchase plan

Putting together a shopping plan is one of the most effective strategies for conscious and sustainable consumption. Here, the important thing is to prioritize product quality over quantity.

For this reason, planning involves objectives and priorities for purchases, taking into account factors such as quality, durability, origin of products and the social and environmental impacts involved in their production.

When planning, also research the options available on the market, checking information about the origin of the products, production conditions, composition, certifications and other information that guarantee the quality of that item.

Reuse when possible

Reusing is one of the main strategies for conscious and responsible consumption.

It contributes to reducing the waste of natural resources and reducing the environmental and social impacts resulting from the production and disposal of products.

To do so, you can follow some tips and strategies:

  • enjoy packaging : these glass, plastic and cardboard items can be used in different ways, such as storing food, plants, office supplies, among others;
  • make repairs : Before discarding a product that is damaged, assess whether it is possible to repair it and extend its useful life. This can include everything from sewing clothes to repairing electronic devices;
  • donate if it’s in good condition : products that are still in good condition can be donated to charities or to friends and family in need. Another option is shopping at thrift stores;

Understand what is want and what is need

Understanding the difference between desire and need is essential for conscious and sustainable consumption.

This tip is very associated with impulsive purchases.

There are often external influences — such as advertising and social pressure — to consume products that are not really essential for the person, which generates a waste of natural resources and negative impacts on the environment.

That’s why, before buying a product, think about its usefulness and importance to your life. Ask yourself if it is really necessary and, moreover, if there aren’t more sustainable and economical alternatives.

Avoid wasting food

Avoiding food waste is also a practice for those who want to learn how to consume consciously.

It not only represents a great environmental impact, but also a loss of financial and human resources involved in the production, transport and distribution of food.

To do this, it is possible:

  • store correctly : it is essential to follow the temperature and humidity recommendations for each type of food. This prolongs the shelf life of food and prevents unnecessary waste;
  • enjoy the leftovers : when preparing meals, take advantage of food leftovers to make new recipes, such as soups, salads, sandwiches and other preparations. This makes it so you don’t have to throw away something useful;
  • choose local and seasonal products : prefer products that are in greater supply and are fresher. This avoids wasting food produced in other regions that had to be transported over long distances.

To keep learning about similar topics, keep following the health news here on CNN!


To summarize what we talked about on the topic, then:

  • conscious consumption is a practice that aims to take consumption actions concerned with the social, environmental and economic impacts they may have;
  • people are moving more towards becoming conscious consumers;
  • direct experience with problems of poverty, water pollution and discrimination against minorities, in addition to the digital environment, has increased this concern;
  • although it doesn’t just depend on that, putting together a shopping plan, reusing when possible and avoiding food waste are some good practices for those who want to know how to consume consciously.

Source: CNN Brasil

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