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Why has Covid-19 turned us into ethical consumers?

When Covid-19 and the realities of lockdown hit, we were worried for our future as a start-up. But we've been fascinated (and relieved!) to hear from lots of new customers, who are choosing to seek out and support ethical brands. So why has Covid-19 created so many ethical consumers? 

Has Covid-19 created ethical consumers - ethical shopping

Lots of people tell us they're choosing to buy more responsibly

When the Coronavirus crisis first hit, we were concerned. Start-ups aren’t eligible for much of the government assistance available so this could have been devastating. However we’ve been astounded by the number of people who have told us they’ve been using this time to seek out and support ethical and sustainable businesses and we’ve really noticed this impact our online shop. So we wondered, has Covid-19 changed the way people think about what they buy and where it comes from? 

Ethical consumers pledge to change the way they shop

Has Covid-19 created ethical consumers - zero waste shop

People are considering what they buy and what it's made from

According to UK research conducted by Ethicly, 88% of those surveyed said they’re likely to embrace personal change to follow a “new sustainable normal” following the Coronavirus crisis. 76% of respondents agreed that it is important for brands to help us to achieve a more sustainable life moving forwards. 93% agreed we must learn to consume less and create less waste as well as use less plastic.

In April 2020 Google reported that searches for “How to live a sustainable lifestyle” had increased by more than 4,550%! This increase followed Earth Day, but it seems this highlights a wider interest in sustainable living and our impact on the planet.

Why are we more interested in sustainable living?

Woman in nature sitting in a field

So why has this happened? One possibility is that lockdown and the seriousness of the pandemic led people to slow down and reconsider what's important. 83% of respondents in Ethicly's survey said they feel more grateful for the simple things in life. In a survey by the National Trust a third of adults said they've become more interested in nature since lockdown, and more than half say they plan to make a habit of spending time in nature "when things go back to normal".

This June, the Committee on Climate Change warned the government that they should prepare for a likely 4°C rise in temperature, with catastrophic impacts for life as we know it. They also recommended the government use their response to Covid-19 as an opportunity to take action on climate change. Maybe this stark warning has impacted individuals' behaviour too.

It's possible the combination of time to consider our choices and an awareness of how our choices impact on our natural environment has led to this noticeable shift. This would fit with the conversations we've been having with customers and suppliers but we'd love to know what you think - drop a comment below.

Why we want to create change

Lucy, founder of ethical brand Good Things

Lucy, founder of Good Things

“A couple of years ago I spent time in Costa Rica working with endangered sea turtles and saw for myself the impact plastic pollution was having on critically endangered animals,” Good Things founder Lucy explains, “I realised we have to change the way we consume, and our throwaway culture. I started Good Things because I believe what we buy has the potential to change the world for the better. In the last few months we've seen that other people truly care about the planet and the people who make their products, and that they’re willing to act on this too.”

Has Covid-19 created ethical consumers - eco gifts

Good Things seeks out ethical and planet-friendly gifts, toys and games

In the last three months we've seen an average 30% month-on-month increase in orders despite the pandemic. 92% of our customers report that they choose to shop with Good Things because they're looking for eco-friendly materials and sustainably sourced products.

Among them, our suppliers provide a new start for orphaned young adults in Rwanda; champion and support the work of artists with disabilities in the UK; and create eco-friendly recycled cards that plant trees too.

Alongside championing ethical and sustainable projects, we also pledge 20% of profits to charity. At the end of our first year, we protected two acres of threatened habitat, creating Nature Reserves in Central America with the World Land Trust.

What next for ethical shopping?

It's becoming increasingly apparent that we may never go back to life as it was before. Research suggests people intend to change their habits, make more sustainable choices, and that they expect brands to do the same. As we hold more companies to account for their actions, it's likely we may see more people boycott brands that aren't behaving responsibly and perhaps the arrival of more ethical alternatives in their place.

Let's hope that whatever our "new normal" may turn out to be, it allows us all to build a kinder and more sustainable future.

Text reads: Explore ethical gifts, toys and games that are kind to the planet, and the people who make them

Good Things seeks out innovative, fair and eco-friendly toys and gifts that make a difference. Like toy boats made entirely from recycled milk bottles, or cards that are changing the lives of orphaned young adults in Rwanda. Have a look at our collections.

Check out more Little Ways to Love the Planet or sign up to have Good Things popped into your inbox every weekend.

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