Caring for the environment is caring for your own health
by Teresa López
Every year an increasing amount of individuals start to pay more attention to their consuming habits as well as be more aware of the direct impact these routines can have on the world and their lives. The so-called LOHAS (lifestyle of health and sustainability) consumers search for something extra in their purchases, especially valuing honesty, authenticity, and alignment of principles in the brands they support.
The surge of this type of demanding consumer – about 20% of the European population and 25% of the North American according to lohas.se – explains the growing popularity of eco-products worldwide. We interviewed the managers of two supermarket chains specialised in these products – both of them consuming EKOenergy – to get to know their views.
“We offer our clients a diverse range of high quality, environmentally responsible, organic, and fair trade products,” says Johanna Koskinen, Marketing Manager of the Finnish chain Ruohonjuuri. “Personal health is one of the biggest reasons to choose environmentally friendly products.” Indeed, it is proved that the more natural food or cosmetics are, the better they are for us.
She explains that one important difference their shops have with common supermarkets is the accessibility of their personnel to answer any question from clients. “Customers would like to know where, how and by whom their food was grown. They also want to make sure that there is no additives or other ‘bad things’ in their food and in their natural cosmetic products.”
The same happens in Ecorganic’s shops in Spain. “Our average customer is very inquisitive” says Pello Aizpuru, managing director of this organic supermarket chain. “Logically who pays more, who is concerned about their health or the environment, is also more demanding”.
As more and more brands begin to make their production process as transparent as possible – including environmental impact, social repercussion, chemicals used… – consumers start to be sceptical about the brands still not doing it. This is bringing a whole new trend of companies looking for independent certifications to keep their customers’ trust.
Ruohonjuuri and Ecorganic are experts in this, having EKOenergy at their stores among other international labels, as one more action to be consistent with their philosophy.
“Eco-labels are very useful, but the most important thing is for consumers to know what is behind a label” says Pello. “It is important that the person holding it works also to educate consumers about environmental threats and solutions”.
Can sustainable be affordable?
Many people believe buying eco-labelled products is much more expensive than others, so they don’t make the effort of searching for alternative options outside the closest hypermarket.
Pello Aizpuru repeats very often that eating organic, for example, is not expensive. According to him, the problem is that our society has come to a misconception of nutrition.
“If you analyze a shopping basket in any supermarket you often find a lot of products that do not contribute to your nutrition – cola, industrial biscuits, dairy products… If you make a purchase of organic products to feed yourself correctly – based on legumes, with vegetables and fresh fruits, etc. – it is not that expensive.”
He thinks that today we spend a lot of money on things that are visible, like watches or cars, but we count every cent when it comes to what we eat, which is what affects our health.
Johanna, on her side, gives these two simple pieces of advice to people trying to move to a more sustainable lifestyle: “Buy quality – but don’t buy anything that you don’t need – and never throw food away”.
EKOenergy subscribes to this view. As well as recommending that consumers are as energy efficient as possible, and then choose 100% sustainable electricity, we also ask them to do their weekly shopping responsibly and choose wisely.
When we invest in taking care of the environment we invest in our health and the other way around. Every little choice makes a difference in our planet and ourselves!