Aren't We All Just Hypocritical?

Etiko Blog: A pinnochio like face with dystopian world image with a green leafy facade

When it comes to making sustainable and ethical decisions for people and the planet in our everyday lives, we all have a pretty good idea of what the ‘best’ options are. Yet, for most people, most of the time, we don’t live by those values. So today, I’m asking the question: are we all just hypocrites?

The choices we make each day are having an impact on the future my grandkids are going to have. In fact, it’s contributing to the experiences we’re all having right now from a climate crisis perspective and an equity/human rights angle.

If we buy fast fashion, we’re keeping vulnerable garment workers trapped in poverty and we’re supporting a wasteful industry with a huge carbon footprint.

If we consume meat, we’re contributing to land clearing, we’re also eating animals fed grains and water that could have helped bridge the global food gap, and then there’s the ethics of raising and killing animals for food.

If we drive cars and fly on planes, we’re contributing to greenhouse emissions and global warming.

And yet, every day, we choose the most convenient option. The tastiest option. The choice we’ve always made because that’s what we’ve always done. Even when we know better. And I’ll confess, I’m far from perfect too. I could make a few more changes to live more lightly on this earth.

So why the heck don’t we?

The truth is that while some people are hypocritical and are only talking the sustainability talk because it’s cool (or profitable for them), the overall issue of failing to make changes is more complicated than that.

For starters, humans have spent thousands of years prioritising our present-time survival needs. Mainly food, shelter, and sex. The stuff that will ensure we survive as a species. So, scientists have figured out that our brains aren’t very good at processing future-based needs, which is why it’s been so easy to ignore decades of climate crisis warnings. Decades of misinformation also didn’t help there.

Then there’s the fact that Western economies are capitalist. We receive a lifetime of messages that we need to buy ‘stuff’ to be our best selves, to be loved, and to be happy. It’s pretty hard to ignore all that marketing unless you live under a rock. And, it’s even harder to perceive the impact your choices are having on faceless supply chain workers on the other side of the world. Out of sight, out of mind.

And then we also need to consider that we’re all in a state of constant overwhelm. We have a 24/7 news cycle, social media, advertising, influencers and podcasts talking at us: it’s exhausting. Plus, many people are just trying to survive and keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. A values-based life can be a privilege.

But, if we’re not living paycheck to paycheck and juggling housing or food insecurity, there are some simple ways to live up to our values.

First, we have to make changes habitual. We stick to doing what we’ve always done because it’s ingrained. We don’t have to think about it, we just do it. And that’s especially important when we have decision fatigue at the end of the day. So, we need to spend a month or two turning new changes into brainless habits.

And then, we need to make decision-making easier. That might look like prepping a week’s worth of vegan work lunches on a Sunday night, having a bamboo toothbrush subscription, or committing to a carpool. Or it can also mean purchasing from trustworthy certification labels.

Certification schemes exist to help take the guesswork and stress out of ethical shopping. It’s a way for consumers to identify the truly ethical businesses they want to support, and for ethical businesses to convey their values.

Certifications like B Corporation and Fairtrade are some of the most rigorously assessed certification schemes in existence. And in a world of greenwashing, it’s important to stick to the handful of genuine and independent certifications.

At Etiko, we’re proudly B Corp and Fairtrade certified. Our commitment to you, the customer, is that our products have been manufactured with utmost care to the people who make them and the planet we live on.

And because we want more people to be able to make ethical purchasing decisions, we keep our profit margins slim so that you can afford our gear. We don’t believe that ethical clothing should only be for the rich.

At the end of the day, what’s most important is that we keep trying to make better lifestyle and purchasing decisions because we can make a positive impact even through imperfect actions. Let’s use our power as consumers wisely, live our values and truly understand that our decisions have far-reaching consequences.

Together, let’s stride towards a more sustainable and compassionate future. Cheers to making better decisions one ethical, certified choice at a time.


Concerning myself with being hypocritical is a sign I’m focused too much on the chatter and what others may think. It’s a sign I could be spending more time on living a more authentic life, doing what’s right because it brings me gratification.

Good points … yet, would also stress the need for durability and repairabilty of consumer products

I haven’t eaten meat and drunk dairy for over 50 years and look out for sustainable clothes and non leather footwear.
You are so right we have to keep on pushing forwards this way for the sake of our planet.
Keep doing what you are doing.

You raise some really great points. I think when we looked into this it was startling that sustainable brands only work when there are two elements. One there’s something to show off or to someone that you’re making a difference or two there’s something that person gains elsewhere. As humans we can be selfish. It’s hard to admit but we all have that bias in us. Sometimes we recognise it. Other times we ignore it. Ignorance is bliss. However, as people we need to understand that our actions have consequences. No one is perfect. I do my fair share of flying. I offset the footprint but I still do it. Why? Because travel excites me to see what else the world offers. To gain new perspectives. And to experience cultures. That’s my bias. And I’ll own that need to travel purely to be fed those experiences and emotions. At the same time I’ll encourage aviation to aim higher for a better climate and lower intensity on their emissions. I’ll encourage them to recycle or reduce their single use plastic. I’ve always believed that speaking about something is the lazy way out. Put your action into words. And make yourself uncomfortable to do so. It makes our world a better place when we all contribute.

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