Brandi Clark Burton explains how to align our values with our purchases to impact sustainability and personal priorities.

By Brandi Clark Burton

We all have more power, influence and impact than we think. How we spend our time, energy and resources shapes our lives and our world. Whether we are conscious of it or not, practically every minute of the day we are making choices that have positive or negative consequences for our bodies, our families, our communities and our planet.

One way to create change is to “vote with our dollars” by supporting businesses and organizations that align with our values and beliefs. Women are particularly powerful in this regard. Studies show that women control a significant portion of the world’s wealth and consumer spending, with estimates as high as 85%.
Rather than simply default to the cheapest or most convenient items, with a little effort you can take into account the often invisible impacts built into your choices. You can support the products and companies that reflect your values, and avoid those that don’t stack up to your priorities by taking these four steps.

  • Reflect – Stop and think about the things you care about and rank their importance. For example, if you are passionate about animal welfare, you can choose to only buy from companies that do not test on animals or use animal products. Moreover, there are also companies that actively promote women or take care of the environment.
  • Research – Find out who the leaders and bad actors are in the categories that matter to you.
  • Reward – Give your business to the companies that are doing things right in your eyes.
  • Reinforce – Make your habit stick and increase the impact of your research by sharing it with others. Talk about it, and share why you care, in person or online. People will follow your lead.

We have the power to create positive social and environmental impact and support a more sustainable and just future by overall making fewer purchases, using conscious shopping strategies, and directing our purchasing power to support businesses and organizations that align with our values.

We can meet our needs while investing in creating the world we want to see, now and in the future.

Sustainable Purchasing

Sustainable Purchasing means taking into account the social, economic and environmental impacts of the products or services throughout their entire life cycle.

Consider This!

The difference between an ear of corn from the farmer’s market and a bag of corn chips. The corn for the chips might have been raised in Mexico, shipped to California, manufactured with other ingredients, bagged, boxed, shipped some more, displayed in a store, purchased, taken home, opened, then…eat them all? (Hopefully you don’t let them go stale after all that!)


EcoConcept in Action

How we approach spending is just as important as what we purchase. Not buying is often the greenest and likely the cheapest choice. Keeping things in service through repair is another strategy. Next best is to think about how you can get the service of the product without purchasing a new one yourself. Could you borrow, rent or participate in a fractional ownership program?


Bonus Behavior

Unless there is an urgent deadline, don’t use rush/air shipping, which uses the most energy and causes the most pollution. Have a little patience and let it travel by boat, train, truck. Reuse, recycle or compost packaging as appropriate.

EcoConcept in Action

When it comes to big purchases (i.e. durable goods like your home, vehicle and appliances/electronics), a one-time choice can lead to years of impact. You can use the decision tree above when considering the values of the companies you support.

Your Home (House or Apartment)

Location: Where you live relative to your work, school, daily activities and services will impact hours in traffic, fuel/energy spent on commutes, as well as wear and tear on vehicles.

Energy efficiency: An HVAC with a higher SEER rating, sealed ducts and proper insulation can save you thousands of dollars over the years.

Your Vehicle: (Car or Truck)

Beyond the first cost and manufacturing impacts (buying used helps with both), electric vehicles (EV) have a lower total cost of ownership, accounting for maintenance and power costs. When you pair an EV with Austin Energy’s Green Choice or Community solar program or solar panels on your roof, you can drive with no emissions. Plus, EVs are quiet, smooth, fast and fun!

Your Appliances (HVAC, Electronics, Computers, Laptop and TV)

Choosing quality products with Energy Star ratings and products with good warranties can save lots of money.

Role Model Companies

Though there is no such thing as a perfect company, many of the all-around best have put themselves through certification processes. Locally we have the Austin Green Business Leaders Program. Nationally, you can look for Green Seal Certification or membership in the Green America Business Network. One of the gold standards for responsible business practices is the B Corp designation as a benefit corporation. In addition to passing the rigorous certification, these companies have built into their charters their commitment to evaluate how they impact people and the planet, while growing their bottom line.

Archer Investment ManagementArcher Investment Management is a financial services firm that helps clients use their wealth to meet their goals and make a positive impact while doing so. They streamline client processes through environmentally friendly paperless communications and virtual meetings. They run on 100% sustainable energy (wind power) and aggressively recycle and compost to minimize their impact on the environment. Archer also encourages and facilitates helping clients make sustainable decisions with their money and their lifestyles. They help clients make the switch to sustainable energy for their homes and pay for their first year of doing so as part of a larger client and social commitment. To date, they have moved millions of dollars of traditional investments to sustainable investments and by doing so cut those clients’ investment-driven carbon emissions by 90%.Financial Planning, Investment Management, Socially Responsible Investments
Atchley & Associates, LLPAtchley & Associates, LLP, is an Austin-based full-service certified public accounting firm, offering services such as attestation, tax, accounting, business consulting, political campaign reporting and litigation support services.Accounting, Tax, Attestation, Political, Nonprofit
Bloom CommunicationsEstablished in 2012, Bloom Communications helps mission-driven organizations grow and thrive. Through an integrated, research-based approach, they provide expert marketing, public relations and creative services with the personal touch of a boutique agency. They are dedicated to helping to foster healthier and more sustainable communities.Marketing, Communications and Promotional Materials,, Inc., provides a platform for data that enables users to post, search, and collaborate on data sets on a large and meaningful scale.IT Software and Services and Web Design
Equalize Digital, Inc.Equalize Digital specializes in WordPress accessibility and is striving to create a world where all people have equal access to information and tools on the internet, regardless of ability. Equalize Digital, a WordPress VIP agency partner and corporate member of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals, offers website accessibility audits and remediation, accessibility consulting services, and builds custom WordPress websites for enterprise businesses, government, higher education and nonprofits from an accessibility first perspective. Equalize Digital has a SaaS product, Accessibility Checker, that is an automated accessibility scanning tool to help WordPress websites become and stay accessible. Their software dynamically scans, monitors and reports on the accessibility status of websites in real-time as content, themes, and plugins are updated.Marketing, Communications and Promotional Materials
findhelp, a Public Benefit CorporationOur mission is to connect all people in need and the programs that can help them (with dignity and ease). Findhelp collects all federal, state, county, city, neighborhood, and charity program information and put it in one place and make it easy for people to find and connect with those programs. Ultimately, this leads to people in need getting help.SaaS, social services, sdoh, social determinants of health, nonprofit software
fitpplfitppl is a socially-proactive collective of individuals with a vested interest in crafting products that are better for people and better for the planet. Each purchase supports their mission to reduce plastic pollution through their active cleanups, and forward-thinking products. Their mission was born in the waters near Hong Island back in 2013, when fitppl was still just an idea. fitppl launched in late 2015 and now serves as a catalyst for environmental reform through forward thinking products and company action.Organic Supplements
Goodkind CoFragrance reimagined. Elevate every moment with PHLUR’s responsibly sourced, sustainably crafted fragrances. Seen in Allure, Cool Hunting, Forbes and more.Organic, Fairtrade and Sustainable Products; Personal Care Products
GoodPopPremium frozen novelties made with clean, plant based, organic and responsibly sourced ingredients! If it’s a GoodPop, it’ll never have HFCS, GMOs, Refined Sugar or Sugar Alcohol Sweeteners.Organic, Fairtrade and Sustainable Products
LafesLafes is an award winning natural and organic personal care brand with a twenty year history of creating healthy plant based products that promote sustainable living practices and strong environmental stewardship. Lafes offers an extensive line of certified organic deodorants, babycare and haircare products, taking pride in the company’s formulations that follow from the founder’s mother’s simple adage regarding ingredients, “if you can’t pronounce them, avoid them.” The founder’s deep seated belief is that consumers should be given healthy choices when it comes to what goes on the body with a commitment to product formulations which that are free of toxic preservatives, fake fragrances and anything petroleum. Lafes’ Toxic Ten lists many everyday synthetic chemicals found in supermarket brands but don’t meet their high standards. Additionally the company’s policies support the believe that natural and healthy should be affordable for everyone with the hope that someday, natural and organic will become mainstream while synthetic and chemical become secondary.Organic, Fairtrade and Sustainable Products
Money PositiveAffordable and approachable comprehensive financial planning for clients coast-to-coast.Financial Management and Fundraising
NadaMoo!NadaMoo! is The Original Coconut Milk Frozen Dessert. Proudly born and raised in Austin, Texas, NadaMoo! was founded in 2005 upon a mission to make the world happier and healthier, one scoop at a time. NadaMoo! is made with organic coconut milk, so every spoonful retains a creamy, rich, and delicious experience while remaining dairy-, gluten-, and GMO-free. NadaMoo! is dedicated to using the highest quality ingredients in support of a fair, sustainable and contaminant-free food chain. We are a company involved in a very fast-growing industry, and we are currently the largest independent brand in our category in the nation. Finally, we are proud to be family owned. We believe it is important to be real people making real food.Organic, Fairtrade and Sustainable Products
Noonday CollectionJessica Honegger launched Noonday Collection in 2010 after she met Jalia and Daniel, talented jewelry designers in Uganda who dreamed of using fashion to create dignified jobs in their community. Jessica hosted the first Noonday Trunk Show, selling Jalia and Daniel’s jewelry in her home to raise funds to adopt from Rwanda. Women fell in love with the style and story of Noonday Collection – and Jessica began to dream bigger than a fundraiser. Jessica soon partnered with Travis Wilson, a friend passionate about social entrepreneurship and experienced in building businesses. Both Travis and Jessica had spent years working in Africa and Latin America. Together they dreamed of starting a business that would alleviate poverty through entrepreneurship. This dream became Noonday Collection, a business that uses fashion to create meaningful opportunities around the world. Noonday travels the world to identify artisan entrepreneurs who share their dream of creating meaningful opportunity in vulnerable communities. They design jewelry and accessories in collaboration with talented Artisans, using unique materials and traditional skills to create beautiful jewelry.Organic, Fairtrade and Sustainable Products
OneSeventeen Media, PBCOneSeventeen Media leads the charge in developing digital mental healthcare solutions for K12 schools that help educators improve outcome-based social emotional and mental health results for their students. reThinkIt! for School, a proven effective mobile mental health platform, helps make students emotionally healthier. Powered by machine learning, reThinkIt! leverages its unique combination of kid-smart, chatbot-driven conversations and real-time self-guided What’sUp? Assessment paired with optional access to licensed live chat mental health therapists and certified counselors. reThinkIt! helps automate the time-intensive parts of the mental health evaluation and triage process that bog down the more important –– and essential – – high-touch-people part. OneSeventeen Media is headquartered in Austin, Texas and is funded in part by social impact investment from Southwest Angel Network (SWAN), Health Wildcatters and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. We’re committed to transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet.Education and Training, Health and Human Services
Osano, Inc., a Public Benefit CorpOsano is the easiest-to-use data privacy platform in the world. Osano is used by thousands of companies around the world to comply with laws like GDPR, LGPD, and CCPA. Osano is so widely used, that if you’ve surfed the web today, you’ve probably already interacted with Osano! From startups to the Fortune 100, Osano helps to ensure your company is compliant with every privacy law worldwide while reducing your risk of litigation and bad press.IT Software and Services and Web Design
Vital FarmsVital farms is a market maker for pasture raised eggs and butter.Pasture Raised, Non-GMO, Organic, Certified Humane, Eggs, Butter

Brandi Clark Burton aka EcoBrandi is dedicated to promoting actions that help us be healthy, thriving people and healthy, thriving businesses in healthy, thriving communities on a healthy, thriving planet. She spends a lot of time outdoors when not growing The Austin Common (her civic engagement-focused media outlet), public speaking, selling solar or taking care of her family.



Leave A Reply

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial