The world buys a lot of stuff….
Let’s face it, humans like stuff. Indeed, when we’re shopping we get a dopamine hit—this is the chemical in our brains that helps us feel pleasure. And, when we shop online, we get that reaction not just when we make a purchase, but when we excitedly open our packages when they arrive at our door.[The Atlantic] Suffice to say, it’s a recipe that leads many of us to easily get caught up in the frenzy of holiday sales and shopping.
In the time period from Thanksgiving to New Year, Americans throw away 25% more trash.[Stanford] In the United States alone, over 16 million tons of textiles wound up in the waste stream in 2015— that’s a 68% increase from 2000! Add to that 34.5 million tons of plastics (a 35% increase since 2000), and you can probably think of a few holiday gifts and/or their packaging that made it into those calculations.[EPA]
How can we do better this holiday season?
It’s estimated that the average American will spend $920 on gifts this holiday season. [Investopedia] That’s a lot of purchasing power. And luckily, there are great options available for us to do good with the purchases we need to make this holiday season.
This is becoming easier and easier as companies large and small are focusing in on having a positive impact on people and the planet. You may have heard about something called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), this is a business model being adopted by companies to help them become more socially accountable. Very often, CSR programs take the form of volunteer efforts, beneficial supply chain practices, and environmental responsibility.[Investopedia] From Starbucks to Ben & Jerry’s to Patagonia, large companies are finding ways to give back to and improve the world with their work.
But doing good for the world isn’t just for big corporations. Look around, or listen to almost any podcast and you’ll start to notice all kinds of businesses who are mission-driven to have a positive impact on the world with their work!
We’re going to introduce you to a few of them!