Five (easy) ethical New Year’s resolutions for 2017

Ethics don't need to be overwhelming. Olga Klepova from Bank Australia suggests easy resolutions to help you start leading a more ethical and sustainable life. Check out her five tips for 2017.

1) Switch to reusable

We use about 5 billion plastic bags a year in Australia and produce 2.23 kg of waste per capita per day! Disposable items are everywhere and it can be hard to start cutting back.

Make getting started easy by picking one thing that you can switch to reusable in 2017 – and resolve to stick to it for the whole year.

For example, buy a reusable coffee cup and get into the habit of taking it with you each time you go for coffee. Or tuck a reusable shopping bag into your handbag so you never get caught without one.

2) Check your money matches your values

Where you bank has a big impact on where your money goes. Banks and superannuation funds use your money to invest in other companies and projects, which might include investments that don't match your values. For example, many banks and super funds invest in the fossil fuel industry, one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions.

In 2017, resolve to look up your bank and superannuation fund to make sure they don't invest your money into the fossil fuel industry. And if their projects don't match your values, switch.

3) Rethink your wardrobe

If you've ever thought you have too many clothes in your wardrobe, then you are ready to step into sustainable fashion in 2017. With tonnes of clothes being dumped yearly, fast fashion is a big contributor to waste. So, why not to stop buying in excess?

Instead, you can shop for second-hand clothes, opt for clothes swapping or focus on buying a few high quality, ethically produced items.

When buying new, think about where your clothes come from. Only 5% of 87 fashion companies that operate in Australia know where all their raw materials came from. You can check this list of companies rated from an ethical point of view and make your fashion choice, and check out this guide to get your started on your ethical fashion journey.

4) Avoid palm oil

The oil extracted from palm trees in South East Asian rainforests is the driver of large-scale deforestation, which puts elephants, orang-utans, rhinoceros and tigers in danger.

While a lot of people know about the negative effects of palm oil production, avoiding it can be hard. It is present in around 50% of packaged supermarket products, but often hidden under different names.

So, what can you do? In 2017, download and use the Palm Oil Barcode Scanner app, which can recognise whether a product contains palm oil and also whether that palm oil was sustainably harvested and take a look at our labelling guide to get to know the other ways in which palm oil is labelled.

5) Buy fair coffee

On an average day in Australia we drink 16.3 million cups of coffee – that works out to 3 kg of coffee per person per year.

While coffee is a normal part of the day, we rarely think about the how it was produced and who was involved in it. Put it this way: would you continue buying coffee knowing that forced child or trafficked labour was involved in its production?

In 2017, check out this list of ethically produced coffee compiled by World Vision, or look for coffee shops that liaise directly with coffee producers.

So what will be your ethical resolutions for the New Year?

Try to pick a couple of concrete ones that you can stick to and make 2017 better for you and the planet.

We're in a climate emergency and it's going to take all of us to get out of it. That's why 1 Million Women is building a global community of women committed to fighting climate change with our daily actions. To join the (free) movement just click the button below!

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