Conscious consumerism is a form of consumer-based activism that extends far beyond drinks and food, and includes cosmetics, electronics, and school supplies (for example). The conscious consumer can choose what to buy based on positive aspects – because it is good – or negative – boycotting companies and refusing their products because they are bad. Whether a product is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is based on several factors, and for non-food consumer goods this can include how ethical the company is; how energy efficient the product is, or how easy it is to dispose of the packaging, as well as the item itself (post-consumption).
Conscious consumerism also considers the effects that marketing and media have, encouraging decisions to be based on a desire for ethical, green and sustainable consumption. This has led to the world market increasing regulation of production, as well as offering labels which help the consumer establish if the item is good or bad, and therefore if it meets their expectations.
Each year hundreds and thousands of experiments are conducted on non-human animals for each product we can think of, including cosmetics and skincare, automotive, electronic, and household goods; and even ink. In fact, both Vegan Action and The Vegan Society believe that for certain products to be offered vegan certification, the whole company must adhere to cruelty-free practices.
For a company to fit this criteria the products must have been manufactured without using animal products or having been tested on animals. The Leaping Bunny is a global certification offered to companies who meet strict standards, one of which is that companies must not enter the Chinese market where animal testing for imported cosmetic products is required. In the UK, certification is managed by Cruelty Free International, in Europe by the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments, and in the USA and Canada it is managed by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics.