Insights · December 13th, 2012

Women have enormous purchasing power, which is expected to reach $28 trillion by 2020, according to BCG. Why, then, do we continue to purchase products that are harmful to us and the environment? Why do we buy from companies that are only interested in money, and not the  well-being  of the people they are serving?

Perhaps it’s because 91% of women surveyed believe that advertisers do not understand them. Maybe we  are not  hearing about any products that we can truly get behind, so we just buy from the limited list of what’s available. Well, that won’t work much longer. If we want to see a better world, full of healthy people and conscious products, we need to buy products that reflect those qualities. We can only make a real change if we determine what’s getting sold, rather than just buying what’s out there because we think it’s the only option. It’s not!

There are many problems in the world that can be solved by showing marketers that you don’t want to be a part of the status quo anymore.   Talk to your friends and neighbors about what they are buying and who they are buying from; start a conversation in your community.

In addition to getting your voice heard, focus on buying from companies that would seriously listen to you as the consumer. Buy from companies whose mission statements include creating a safe, healthy society through eco-friendly practices. Nike, Johnson & Johnson, and Dell have all been praised for their sustainable practices, and Toms Shoes, Seventh Generation, and Project 7 all sell products with a social mission in mind.

Some say that “citizens’ real source of power to make change on the scale we need is through transforming the policies, business practices and structural context in which production and consumption happen.” This means lobbying for taxes on junk food, and tax incentives for green products.

And then there’s focusing on what you’re buying now. This holiday season is a great time to reflect on what you’re buying.  The National Retailers Federation forecast that during this time of the year 586.1 billion dollars will be spent on gifts. This is a perfect opportunity to be conscious of what you buy. For instance, you could buy fewer toys, since they will inevitably just end up in landfills or the ocean, and instead buy gifts that promote activity and encourage social experiences. And remember a gift doesn’t have to be physical- you can simply promise to babysit someone’s kids twice that month, which is a great gift for the parents and a fun, new social experience for the children.

The bottom line is, we are capable of changing what is getting sold to the public, but we must be conscious buyers and get active about supporting companies whose mission aligns with our own.

Writer: Mallory Smith worked as Program Manager & Administrator at Futurist.com

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Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas is the Chief Futurist of the Futurist Think Tank. He is world-renowned futurist speaker, a Fellow of The RSA, and has worked with over 300 of the world’s most impactful companies to establish strategic foresight capabilities, identify trends shaping our world, help anticipate unforeseen risks, and design equitable futures for all. In his new book – ‘Facing Our Futures’ – he challenges short-term thinking and provides executives and organizations with the foundations for futures design and the tools to ignite curiosity, create a framework for futures exploration, and shift their mindset from what is to WHAT IF…

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