A special Tet season is approaching. Consumers are buying ahead of schedule to prepare for another year of coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the seasonal shopping booms and pandemic-related safety warnings, the subject of conscious consumerism is more important than ever to highlight.
Conscious consumerism, also known as ethical consumerism or responsible consumerism is a buying behavior that benefits the environment, society, and economy. To put it another way, consumers do not merely buy based on the product, but also on the process of creating that product as well as the business’s ethical compass – not sacrificing the well-being of people, animals, or the environment for the sake of profits. Consumers that support conscious consumerism help to protect the environment while also preventing worker exploitation, child labor, and animal abuse.
A survey conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) in 2021 reported that 90% of 14,000 consumers in nine countries think that the COVID-19 pandemic affected their views on environmental sustainability. Moreover, according to Nielsen’s 2019 Business Sustainability Report, up to 86% of consumers in Vietnam are willing to pay higher for products and services that come from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impacts, compared to 76% of consumers in the Asia Pacific.
The demand for purchasing for worshipping activities, parties, or house renovations spikes around the Tet holiday, resulting in a massive quantity of waste being discharged into the environment, with disposable packaging accounting for a substantial proportion. During the previous Tet, Hanoi city processed over 35,600 tons of waste, and the volume of waste is believed to grow substantially in the days leading up to Tet. Furthermore, keeping Tet practices and rituals, such as scattering votive papers or releasing fish (including plastic bags) into the river to carry the Kitchen Gods back to heaven, pollutes the environment. Another issue exacerbated by unconscious consumption is the massive volume of food waste following Tet. As a result, in addition to the actions of the government and businesses, consumers play an important role in promoting sustainable consumption. Here are a few tips from Evergreen Labs on how to shop for a safe, healthy, and sustainable Tet.
- Be a conscious & minimalist first
Before making any purchasing decisions, ask yourself questions about the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle). Don’t just mindlessly browse online shopping platforms and load your shopping basket just to have a stress-free Tet. Start buying just the items you found to be essential or those with long-term value; you can also reuse items or buy second-hand ones, or you can recycle items to give them a second chance at life. You can also support businesses that adopt a circular economy model, in which products are utilized until the end of their lifecycle. The circular economy, in particular, can assist Vietnam in reducing the pressure on post-pandemic solid waste management. ReForm Plastic‘s recycled plastic waste furniture, plant pots, wall paintings, and other Tet decorations, as well as Glassia‘s reusable and refillable glass bottles for reunion parties, are all fantastic ideas. Carrying bags, containers, and not using single-use plastic are also the most practical ways to contribute to a zero-waste Tet season.
- Go for sustainable and ethical brands
As a conscious consumer, you don’t just buy a product, you buy into the entire process by which that product is made. Consumers, on the other hand, must be wary of “greenwashing,” which occurs when companies fail to live up to their claims of sustainable practices. In terms of the environment, the product must not only be put in eco-friendly packaging, but the manufacturing and transportation processes must also be energy-efficient and non-polluting. In terms of employees, an ethical brand must protect their worker rights in terms of working hours, working conditions, and compensation. In reality, in order to reduce the cost of products and services, some corporations place individuals in hazardous working situations and require them to work longer hours than they are paid for. For example, in 2013, a factory collapse in Bangladesh killed over 1,100 garment workers and injured over 2,000 others, highlighting the unequal exploitation of employees in the fast fashion industry. Child labor exploitation in developing countries is also a severe issue, and animal welfare is another facet of the food industry that should not be disregarded. ReForm Plastic, conscious of the significance of inclusion in its business operations, not only has a beneficial influence on the environment but also helps to support the lives of informal waste collectors. Or HealthyFarm chicken eggs are committed to be farmed in a humane way, meeting international standards for animal welfare.
- Support local businesses
Many local businesses, particularly small and medium-sized ones, have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Supporting local businesses not only helps to provide jobs for the local, boosting the local economy but also reduces sprawl, transportation, habitat loss, and pollution. Evergreen Labs social businesses are committed to hiring local, hands-on employees as well as using decentralized production models. We also boost the local economy and the life of Vietnamese farmers in particular through our social business HealthyFarm, which offers high-quality local products. In particular, the traditional Tet holiday provides a chance for local businesses to highlight local cultural values and uniqueness. HealthyFarm, therefore, provides Tet gift sets inspired by Vietnamese culture, packed in eco-friendly packaging that keeps hygiene standards as an alternative to single-use plastic packaging.
Our purchases may be viewed as a force and voice for change towards a more sustainable society. Consumers have the power to raise the business’s sustainable, ethical, and inclusion standards by choosing to spend money wisely and consciously. As a result, together we can make an impact on the environment and society through our purchase habits to have a more fulfilling and meaningful Tet season!