Archive | February, 2012

Conscious Consumerism is Catching On in New Zealand

Is it coincidence or might there be a trend emerging here? In the space of 24 hours, I’ve discovered two mainstream media that are highlighting “conscious consumers” in New Zealand.

1. The bi-monthly money magazine Good which boasts a circulation of 9,341;  over 15,900 unique users per month;  and 2057 active monthly Facebook users  describes itself as follows:

Good inspires women to create a wholesome, healthy life for themselves, their children and future generations. The Good world is luscious, warm, nurturing and authentic.

Good targets ‘conscious consumers’: intelligent, motivated women who want to live lighter and live well. They actively seek information to help them make smarter, healthier and more ethical choices for themselves and their families. They may not consider themselves to be ‘green’; they’ve simply realised they can change the world by changing what they consume.

Good is aimed at the LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) demographic, constituting 31% of the population. LOHAS are well-educated, with an average to high income. They are interested in personal development, health, sustainable living and social justice. Over half of Good readers have children, a major driver of health-focused, eco-friendly living.

2. Element – a monthly insert in the New Zealand Herald that “aims to inspire and guide Kiwis to transform New Zealand into the healthiest, most liveable destination on the planet”. The Herald’s newest magazine, which desires to be New Zealand’s largest mass-reach health, sustainable lifestyle and ethical business publication, is focusing on a Conscious Cafe per month.

Source: Element Insert in The New Zealand Herald

The Conscious Cafe Network is the first project of a movement called Conscious Consumers founded by Ben & Fran Gleisner and Melissa Keys. We blogged about this movement back in March of 2011 here.

Cafes and Suppliers to cafes are awarded badges for demonstrating a commitment to environmentally and socially conscious business practices. Thus far the network has been established in Wellington, Auckland and Waikoto with over 70 cafes participating. Thanks to funding recently obtained from the Ministry for the Environment, the network will be expanded to other communities and will be able to promote network members to conscious consumers. Ben and Melissa tell me that they also hope to expand to restaurants and catering establishments next and we hope to join forces to bring the concept of Conscious Consumerism to the travel sector in New Zealand.

Nine Badge Types Awarded Conscious Cafes In New Zealand

Participating cafes can be awarded up to nine badges for various achievements:

1. Allowing customers to bring their own recyclable cup for takeaway coffee

2  Composting organic watse

3. Using eco friendly cleaners

4. Using compostable packaging for their takeaway coffee cups

5. Selling fair-trade coffee

6. Using certified organic cow’s milk

7. Recycling glass, plastic, paper and cans

8. Selling seasonal dishes using local ingredients that are “in season”

9 Using exclusively free range eggs.

It’s early days yet, but this does provide further evidence that a growing number of consumers are becoming awake, aware and alert and suppliers can seize the opportunity to cater to  this market.

Here is Ben Gleisners’ slide deck from Slideshare on the topic

Latest Conscious Travel Scoop.it! Out Now

The latest issue of Conscious Travel Scoop.it! is out with a focus on the changing role of business; the growing interest in Bhutan’s Gross Happiness Index and discussions regarding the feasibility of sustained economic growth in a world of finite resources.  Click here to read. Below is an image of the latest front page.

Why Contribute To Responsible Tourism Week?

We’re in the middle of Responsible Tourism Week – a global unconference made possible by the hard work and dedication of Ron Mader and anyone who is committed to sharing ideas related to creating a tourism sector that doesn’t cost the earth. If you want to know how you can contribute, check out Ron’s slideshow here .

Tweet this link (don’t forget the hashtag #RTWEEK2012) and encourage your friends and colleagues to get involved; join Ron’s wiki, contribute case studies; and, wherever possible travel responsibly. All you have to do is budget some time to draw attention to the need for and benefits of creating travel experiences that maximise the net benefit to host communities.

My contribution today is a reminder why we cannot afford to shirk our responsibilities. Just because Al Gore is no longer taking his slideshow around the world or the IPCC is no longer in the news, and climate change, as a news topic, has become so yesterday,  doesn’t mean that the earth is not warming. In fact, Co2 emissions continue to rise at an accelerating rate. For those of you who like the numbers, they reached 393 parts per million in January 2012 and you can watch the monthly increase here.  (Now, I fully recognize that my European friends might find it quite ironic and unsympathetic of me to write this while they are experiencing another brutally hard winter in Europe – see Europe’s Deep Freeze: Why Climate Change is Not Entirely to Blame. ) One reason for the acceleration might also be the positive feedback loop effect when warming reduces the weight of Arctic ice allowing methane, long trapped beneath the ice, to push through to the surface – see article in methane plumes  here

So here’s the reminder of one reason why we have to use each waking moment to work together to create a less polluting form of tourism if we are to live up to the name and dream of “responsible tourism.”


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