6 December 2018
Author: Rebecca Coleman
While some might feel uneasy about overt displays of charitable giving and support, in the age of the influencer they have the power to make goodness go viral. With purposeful hauls and circular economy outfit pictures, perhaps Instagram could be humanity’s path to redemption, rather than its selfie-driven downfall?
Similarly charted on social media was Everyday Plastic, a project led by Dan Webb, who saved every piece of plastic packaging he used in a year to provoke positive change. The 4,490 pieces he collected were made into a billboard artwork and informed a larger study on plastic waste. ‘I’m just one of millions of everyday people who have woken up to what they’re consuming,’ Webb told The Guardian. ‘The aim is to speak to the awareness-laggers, making people realise that changing your whole lifestyle is difficult, but just changing one thing is still really important.’
This idea of making and sharing purchasing decisions in order to create a better world has the potential to make a powerful impact on the future of consumer spending. As we stride towards conspicuous conshumanism, in which we do good through our purchasing and share it to inspire others, this could lead to a future of societal betterment – with those businesses that step up to help consumers achieve their ethical goals set to be the ones that thrive in the future.
UK supermarket chain Iceland, traditionally associated with low-cost frozen foods, is proving that this strategy can work no matter the target audience or price point. Earlier this year, it pledged to rid its aisles of plastic by 2023, and for its Christmas advert, Iceland opted to support Greenpeace in its mission to fight palm oil production over tinsel-tinged merriment. While the tv ad was banned for being too political, it has since gone viral, shared – perhaps unsurprisingly – by the most energetic and ethically minded of social media users, in turn winning Iceland a new generation of conshumanist customers.