The term means the consumption of goods and services produced in an ethical environment and distributed by ethical companies. Ethical business principles include providing the employees with fair working conditions and wages, the protection of the natural environment, being cruelty free, and respecting human rights. The purchasing choice of consumers has a direct impact on the market, thus besides principles, ethical consumerism has a considerable practical effect as well – ethical consumers may spur sustainable economic growth, and can directly support companies and businesses engaged in fair trade through their choices. Following this logic, consumers have the ability to boycott companies with behavior they deem unacceptable.
The popular slogan “Think global, act local” urges people to consider the well-being of the entire planet and to take action in their own communities and cities. Long before governments began actively enforcing environmental laws, individuals were coming together to protect habitats and the organisms that live within them. These efforts, referred to as grassroots effort, often occur on a local level and are primarily run by volunteers and helpers. Although originally present only at the grassroots level, these transformed into global concept with high importance, including not only local communities, but also corporations, governments, and education system.
Besides environmental issues concerning local versus global there are also crucial economic viewpoints. These include reinforcement of the local economy by supporting local businesses, farms, for example buying local fruits and vegetables instead of imported ones. Buying local is not only better for the planet but one also gets to help supporting one’s neighbors and strengthening the local economy.
Anti-consumerism is a socio–political ideology opposed to consumerism that claims that economic growth is inevitable as an ever-expanding consumption of goods is advantageous to the economy and continual buying and consumption will bring happiness.
Anti-consumerist politics asks us as individuals to consider why we consume, what the benefits of acquiring goods are, and what impact it has on the world around us. Anti-consumerism insists that we change our habits and consume less. It is concerned with actions to take by business corporations in pursuit of their own financial and economic goals at the expense of public welfare, especially in order to contribute to environmental protection, social equality, and ethics in the governing of a society.
Anti-consumerist movements are not opposed to consumption per se, they rather seek alternatives to existing forms of consumer capitalism.