The holidays are upon us. It’s a time for family, friends, food, and a healthy dose of gift-giving. While it is a joyous time of year, if you’re anything like me, the abundance of meals and gifts makes you ever more aware of the impact we as consumers have on each other and the planet.
The retail, food, and consumer goods industries—and the supply chains that make them up—can have an especially big impact on the health and wellness of humans and the planet. It’s no secret that shoppers today are demanding more ethical, sustainable, and transparent products in line with their values. While many businesses have responded by making the effort to discover their supply chains, this is an ongoing journey, and conscious shoppers still must take the time to ensure products meet their value expectations.
Want to try incorporating more mindful practices into your celebrations this year? Here are some tips for a more transparent holiday season.
Know what you’re eating
No matter where you live, holidays are synonymous with food—making it a good opportunity to purchase more transparent ingredients. Take the time to read labels and understand where all the ingredients in your meal come from, from the turkey on your table to the palm oil in your bread. Buy food directly from the farmer or butcher or, if this isn’t an option, purchase from brands that have taken proactive steps to connect shoppers with the farmers who harvest or raise their food.
Reduce food waste
With food consumption comes food waste. Food waste is a global problem that occurs at every level of the supply chain, from farmer to consumer. By being more aware of how much food you purchase compared to how much you eat, you can play your part in reducing the amount of food wasted, ultimately helping feed the planet’s growing population.
The holidays and gifts go hand in hand. This year, try finding gifts with transparent supply chains whose origins you can identify.
How about the gift of ethical chocolate? More food companies are taking steps to source more sustainable and socially responsible cocoa, such as Cargill and Nestlé. In addition, many apparel companies have begun to address the issue of transparency. Brands such as Target, The Gap, Marks & Spencer, and H&M have published the names of their first tier suppliers. Other retailers such as ASOS have developed detailed sustainable sourcing plans and have committed to reducing the carbon, water and waste footprint of their own-label clothing by 15% by 2020.
Not sure where to begin? A good resource is Fashion Revolution’s Fashion Transparency Index 2017, which ranks 100 brands and retailers according to how much they disclose about their social and environmental policies, practices, and impact.
Today, more and more companies are implementing transparent practices—meaning that sustainable, ethical, and transparent gift alternatives are becoming easier to find.
Incorporating these tips into your holiday season—and all year round—can ensure you are living in a way that encourages transparent practices among businesses. As more shoppers begin to choose transparent products over those with unknown or hidden supply chains, the case is easily made for businesses to discover their supply chains, make improvements, and share product stories with consumers.