An emerging and poignant trend for 2020 was the increased concern for sustainable living by consumers. Every day, technology is helping consumers make a conscious effort to shop, live, and invest more ethically. In fact, the call for ethical choices has increased so much that green consumerism remains a hot trend in business for 2021. Approximately 65 percent of consumers say they would opt for (and pay more for) a brand that supports and advocates for sustainability. In response, brands and innovators in the technology industry are taking note. From introducing new ethical alternatives to the market to reducing the roadblocks for novice ethical investors, technology is quickly becoming embedded in the quest to live ethically.

Why Living Ethically Is Suddenly So Important

Living an ethical life is not just about doing your part for the planet. It’s about being conscious of your impact and behavior on others – including your fellow human beings and the environment. Aristotle cited an ethical lifestyle as one of his six ways of living. In his insight, he claimed that the ideal life would center around generosity, fairness, integrity and compassion. And while it may be near impossible to lead a completely ethical lifestyle, the key to it is to make small, continuous changes – like your choices as a consumer to support ethical causes around the globe, such as poverty eradication, the education of orphaned children, or the recycling of plastic waste. Only then will the impact of choosing to live ethically be truly felt.

Choose Brands That Are Using Technology To Produce Sustainable Alternatives

By 2020, American consumers had spent $12.5 trillion on durable and non-durable goods, according to an article by Brookings. It is consumer spending that drives the economy, so your purchasing decisions in the store can make a formidable contribution. The good news is that there is now an ample range of ethical brands or alternatives on the market thanks to technological innovation. Keep an eye out for certification marks like the Fairtrade logo, and the composition makeup. A good place to start is by swapping your meat intake for plant-based substitutes like Beyond Burger. With the help of shear cell and extrusion technology, companies are now able to produce meat-like and seafood substitutes using pea protein isolate and soy protein. In fashion, Colorep has introduced the AirDye system, which runs on 85 percent less energy and 90 percent less water.

Elsewhere designer runways in London and Milan have begun to use 3D printing, and in the world of accessories, consumers can opt for man-made gems instead of natural diamonds. Cultured or lab-made diamonds utilize much less energy to produce for the market. As a bonus, many lab-made diamond jewelers are conscious of their footprint and use solar energy to power their productions. To find out more, websites like the Ethical Consumer publish handy ethical shopping guides and rating tables on every category of products, including fashion and current accounts. Additionally, brands are now eager to be more transparent about their ethical initiatives, which makes it easy to find out where your products are coming from. 

Reassess Your Investments Using A Socially Responsible RoboAdvisor

Along with your purchases, your investment power has a direct correlation to sustainability and social responsibility. Before you make a foray into ethical investing, be clear on what your morals are. What key points are you looking for in investment companies beyond their return on investment KPIs? It also helps to understand what you want from investing ethically. For some, it may be a personal decision to put their money where their values are. For others, it may be also fueled by the desire for a good return as green investing takes off.

If you already own stocks and other investments, this is a good starting point to becoming an ethical investor. Research their company practices in areas like recruitment, worker rights, and corporate environmental policies. A good robo-advisor platform can help you with this. Robo-advisors like Betterment, Ellevest, and Personal Capital all offer socially responsible investment portfolios with low fees and additional features like portfolio rebalancing. Most companies will publicize these practices on their website, but to get a more unbiased view, The Global Reporting Initiative and The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment are two other great sources. 

Turn To IoT Devices In The Home For Reduced Energy Use

The connectivity that comes with using the Internet of Things (IoT) means that you are able to monitor your device usage and behavior patterns all at once. For households, it provides an easy way to reduce energy wastage and even food wastage. Inside the home, IOT helps consumers gain more control of their homes even when they are not at home. Mobile apps and remote controls allow you to program your appliances to operate more efficiently -for instance, only switching the heating on 20 minutes before you arrive home. Similarly, IoT technology in the kitchen can help you reduce food waste – a major sore point in the sustainability argument. With the help of IoT and AI, smart refrigerators from LG, Samsung, and other brands can suggest recipes based on the foods in your refrigerator, create smart shopping lists, and even keep your fruits or vegetables fresher for longer.

These are just a handful of ways you can use technology to embrace an ethical way of life. While it is a journey, it comes with great rewards. With the help of innovations like IoT and robo-advisors, you can be well on your way to leading an ethical and more fulfilling lifestyle.