Ethical consumerism has become a buzzword synonymous with people purchasing goods from more sustainable sources and corporations ideally moving towards more conscious practices. Climate change is largely impacted by capitalism and the consequences of pumping out cheap products in enormous quantities. The capitalistic society we live in has made it difficult for consumers to be educated on which companies to support and how to ethically shop.
“Greenfishing” is a term to describe when companies, especially clothing producers like H&M, use misleading advertising to present themselves as more environmentally conscious than they are. H&M uses terms like “sustainably sourced” to describe clothes from their “Conscious Collection” of clothing, but because there is no industry-wide standardization for “sustainably sourced” those terms can be used with much room for interpretation. Zara is another large culprit of greenfishing, but countless companies use this tactic to appeal to customers. Staying away from these companies, buying secondhand clothing, and choosing quality over quantity are ways consumers can have a less negative impact.
Conscious consumers may try to positively impact industries by buying foods labeled organic and clothes that are marketed as more sustainable, but misinforming the public does a significant amount of harm to the environment. Just trusting companies is not enough. When searching for food products, a reliable way of choosing the greenest option is to look for certification. MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certified seafood means that the fishery supplying the seafood has been deemed sustainable for the future, has a minimal impact on the ecosystem, and complies with environmental laws. FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified products means that the product's wood is harvested in a sustainable and law-abiding environment.
Consumers have a huge impact on the environment, and the best thing you can do to help is to keep yourself educated, choose quality over quantity, and support companies that care about the environment.