Thinking about ‘Stuff’! Consumer Classroom website has tips and resources for how to shop sustainably.

Did you know that in the last year, sales of coconut oil in Britain have gone up by £12 million? And that in 2014 we spent over £120 million on a single brand of white bread? And hit a 10-year high in the numbers of new cars we bought? And that 7 in 10 people in the UK now own a smartphone?

There’s no doubt about it, we love buying stuff. Sometimes we buy stuff because we need it, and sometimes we don’t really need it but we like to have it anyway. With so much choice available, and so much advertising trying to persuade us that we ‘need’ everything from fluorescent toothpaste to colour-coded Tupperware, how do we decide what we should buy and why?th6QK764C0

Our consumption decisions can have a huge impact at the global level – whether that means influencing the price a farmer receives for her coffee crop in Indonesia, or encouraging demand for clothing that has been made under fair work and clean environmental conditions.

For those of us working with children and young people, the question is even more important – how can we teach our pupils and students to think critically about the purchasing choices they make, and where can we find information about sustainable and ethical consumption?

shopping 2Think Global has recently joined with partners across Europe to work on the Consumer Classroom website. This is a community website aimed at teachers, which brings together consumer education resources from across the EU, along with interactive and collaborative tools to help prepare and share lessons with students and other teachers. With topics ranging from consumer rights and sustainable consumption to financial literacy and understanding advertising, there’s something to cover many of our most pressing questions.

Take a look at the Consumer Classroom site here, and let us know what you think – in the next months we’ll be working with the Consumer Classroom team to develop and improve the site, and your suggestions would be really valuable.

Don’t forget that we also have a great range of useful resources for teaching about being a critical and sustainable consumer on our Global Dimension Website – looking under the topics of Fair Trade, and Sustainable Development, is a good place to start.

We’ll be posting more information and ideas about being a sustainable consumer in the coming months, as part of the Consumer Classroom project – so keep your eyes peeled!

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