What Is Your Biggest Barrier To Adopting A Sustainable Lifestyle?
We all want to be sustainable right? We build these communities on Instagram, Facebook on Twitter where we all share our sustainability ideals and the ways in which we have integrated at least some aspects of sustainability into our lifestyle. Even for those of us that aren’t as invested in a sustainability, chances are that if given an easy, eco-friendly choice we would take it.
Yet, sustainable lifestyles are still considered niche. Those of us who really do try to make conscious efforts to change still find ourselves in fast fashion or fast consumer traps, leading us to question what is it about sustainability that prevents us from being as ‘green’ as we aspire to be.
After going to a Po-zu event where we discussed all things sustainable fashion and heard from the from of People Tree, Wear the Walk and others one question that came up was how do we push past the envelope of turning our talk into action, and not only action within our small eco-conscious circles but widespread action. Essentially, how do we make conscious fashion the norm?
I remember when I worked at Positive Luxury, a boutique consultancy firm that aims to assist luxury fashion companies on their journey towards becoming more sustainable, my boss told me that she absolutely hated the S word. She believed that once the S word, in this case sustainability, was uttered people instantly switched off, not because they didn’t care about it but just that it had become associated with the nagging that you would receive from a parent asking you to make sure that you finish your vegetables. So, in every report and presentation when we were trying to sell the ideal of sustainability it was presented from different beneficial angles; for businesses sustainability improved their brand image, for customers sustainable fashion provides high quality clothing and a kick of euphoria in knowing that they had been a good Samaritan.
Society has begun to adapt, as the issues of climate change frequently occupy our screens and some parts of the world are beginning to feel its effects, the popularity of re-useable cups and cutting down on plastic bag use are prime examples of how sustainable actions have become the norm. So, what are the biggest challenges we face in applying these same values to other aspects of conscious living, after listening to the Po-Zu panel on sustainable fashion I’ve listed some of the top factors that may be preventing us from living a completely conscious lifestyle (with links to couple of solutions).
“There is too much choice!”
Organic cotton, tencel, rayon, recycled nylon to name a few are all the kinds of labels that we see on our clothes and food telling us that in one way or another their production is having a positive effect on society and/or people. But, does it reach a point where it all just a bit confusing, with so many labels in our face for some it can just be too much. One guest at the Po-Zu panel felt like she would never be ‘green enough’, although she buys organic cotton she felt as though she’s cheating on other ethical brands by not investing in their eco conscious fabric choices too, playing a tug of war between all her favourite brands. With so many brands depending on niche sustainability markets to buy their products for some it seems as though you can never do enough, whether it’s with fashion, beauty products or lifestyle choices there always seems to be another, greener option out there, leaving you to think am I ever doing enough?
“It’s really expensive”
Before you say it, I know that there are ways to be sustainable without spending a penny through clothes swaps or simply mixing and matching your wardrobe in a new way but you know sometimes a gal just wants new clothes! Some of the most popular stores like Reformation or Artizia tend to be on the pricier end, which means that if you're trying to live on a budget it can tough sticking to your green values.
“I don’t have the time”
This is one of the most frequent comments that come up regarding conscious fashion. For now, sustainability is a second though for most big commercial stores because although they have made efforts to adopt degrees of corporate social responsibility regarding social and environmental issues, it isn’t necessarily at the forefront of their agenda. This means that a lot of the time we have to search for new brands that are not only sustainable but are in line with our usual fashion choices. Luckily, the emergence of companies like Ecolabo, Positive Luxury, and our very soon to be released Kind Guide (but you can check out here for now!) provide a quick one stop shop for all your sustainable essentials.
What are your thoughts on what are considered to be the main challenges with adopting a conscious lifestyle and how would you overcome them. I would love to see how your ideas line up against those suggested in my ‘Why Is It so Hard To Shop Sustainably?’ post!