Prior to the pandemic, I considered myself a rather conscious consumer. I credit this to the 3 years I spent in London, where recycling was second nature to everyone. I became interested in separating my recycling from trash, donating clothes before purchasing new ones, and reusing as many items as I could before sending them to a landfill. Like I said, I considered myself a conscious consumer.
But it wasn’t till working in the fashion and beauty industry during a pandemic did I become increasingly aware of the impacts that apparel and grooming subsidies place on climate change. In fact, it’s the second largest industry next to oil that contributes the most waste. Shocked and disgusted at those numbers, I decided I would do my best to limit my personal carbon footprint and damage to the world.
I stopped shopping fast fashion brands (and shopping in general), cleaned out my closet, and did my best to alter or reuse pieces to give them a better life. I also invested in charities and only shouted out companies who had recycling or philanthropic initiatives, or were interested in a closed loop system.
And because I am interested in setting up a couple of stock options for myself, I decided to carry out my new found eco-friendly ethos to my investments as well. When looking for stocks, I wanted companies to be ethical on all fronts — through labor, supply chains, manufacturing, resources, and carrying to customers.
I also wanted to ensure they cared about the lifespan of a product and where it would end up, whether that be something tangible, or a software program that wouldn’t need to be replaced often. What I discovered is that it’s really hard to find a company that fits all those criteria. Most would fit into…well…most.
It made me wonder: Is it bad to invest my money in companies that go against my values? In other words, am I being dishonest to myself by supporting people who didn’t make my marks?
The answer: It depends. Which I’m sure you didn’t want to hear, but basically, you need to decide your absolute must-haves and what you would like, but can swallow not having.
Once you make your hierarchy (think along the lines of clean, ethical labor, and recycles) then you can decide based on this system if the brand is right for you. That way, you won’t feel upset when you do go for companies that doesn’t 100% fit the mold.
For example, if you’re a sneakerhead, maybe you want to check up on what Nike is doing for sustainability and their new deconstructable ISPA Link and Link Axis sneakers.