If you’ve ever considered buying sustainable and cruelty-free products but changed your mind after looking at the price tag, you’re not alone. We understand the hesitation - cruelty-free and sustainably sourced products do tend to cost more in comparison to conventional, mass-produced products as of today.
This often puts people looking to make vegan and eco-conscious choices in a dilemma. But before you make your buying decisions, it’s definitely worthwhile to find out the real reasons behind why these products cost more.
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Why It Costs More: A major way in which mass-producing brands keep their costs low is by paying shockingly low labour wages - less than 2% of textile workers in developing countries that work for leading brands are paid a living wage. A majority of the world’s biggest brands have been revealed to have exploitative labour practices.
By outsourcing production to foreign sweatshops, they often enable the harassment of workers that are paid less than a living wage and are made to work under distressing and inhuman work conditions to cut costs. This is true even of brands that are ‘greenwashing’ or portraying themselves as responsible companies but continue to benefit from the exploitation of wage labourers.
Why You Should Consider It: Thankfully, there is a new breed of sustainable and ethical brands that are employing labour on humane and dignified terms, and Forthgreen is proud to showcase them. These brands ensure that their workers are paid fair wages for their work and given a healthy and conducive work environment.
As you may realize, paying fair labour wages would raise the prices of these products more than that of conventional products - but it means that this cost difference is going towards helping the workers who made your products earn a better livelihood.
Why It Costs More: Would you rather buy a $20 product that lasts your 3 months or a $40 product that lasts you 3 years? Quality and value come at a premium, but for a reason! Whether it’s beauty products, food or fashion, cruelty-free and sustainable brands put a lot of time, research efforts and care into sourcing high-quality materials and ingredients, hiring specially skilled labour and inspecting and testing their products. Vegan foods also tend to be natural and healthier since they don’t contain harmful chemical additives.
This does bring up the cost - but it also means that these products are much better for your body, are durable and of higher quality than conventional products. Furthermore, these materials also have a minimal carbon footprint, making them more environmentally friendly.
Why You Should Consider It: In contrast, more than 60% of fast fashion products today are made from synthetic fabrics such as polyester and nylon that are a direct product of fossil fuel production. This may make them cheap to buy, but it costs you dearly in other ways - Not only is the production of these fabrics a major reason for our climate change as well as water crisis, but synthetic fabrics are also poor quality, easily torn and have a very short shelf life.
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Why It Costs More: Even though the demand for vegan and eco-friendly products is on a steady rise, it is still nowhere near the numbers we see for conventional, mass-produced products. As a result, makers of vegan and sustainable goods are not able to scale up their production to a level that helps them reap economies of scale and pass on the cost savings to the customer.
Even though the demand for vegan and eco-friendly products is on a steady rise, it is still nowhere near the numbers we see for conventional, mass-produced products. As a result, makers of vegan and sustainable goods are not able to scale up their production to a level that helps them reap economies of scale and pass on the cost savings to the customer.
Why You Should Consider It: By purchasing vegan and sustainable products, you not only make a more animal-friendly, eco-conscious choice but also contribute to a greater demand for these goods to help these brands scale up to a point where they could allow them to reduce their prices.
Why It Costs More: Disposable products with low shelf life may be cheaper for you in the short run, but investing in a reusable, sustainable product is sure to save you money in the long run.
Why You Should Consider It: For example, purchasing a single-use plastic water bottle may cost you just 65p, but if you buy a new one every day for a month, you’re paying £19.5 a month. Instead, going for a reusable water bottle may cost you £15 upfront, but will last you for years, while also being safer for you than drinking from plastic bottles in the long run.
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As we hope you can see, there are important reasons why vegan, cruelty-free alternatives and sustainable products come at a premium. However, if you need a product and are unable to invest in a sustainable or vegan purchase at that moment - we understand that it’s not easy to do this all the time.
Making conscious lifestyle choices doesn’t mean doing it perfectly. But it is important to be aware of the impact of your buying decisions, and doing what you can whenever it is possible for you!