As the founder of Twitter’s #EthicalHour, and the Green and Eco Influencer of the Year in 2018, Sian Conway-Wood is a powerful voice when it comes to tackling the climate crisis and real ethical living. Over the past few years, Sian’s become an expert at knowing whether a brand’s sustainable or ethical claims are as real as they sound.
Like many of us, Sian saw there was a huge problem when it comes to how unsustainable our habits, society and world has become. Trying to do something about it is also extremely overwhelming, with so many mixed messages from big brands and an awful lot of greenwashing. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, this is when companies pretend to be more sustainable than they actually are, by using language, pictures or other means to suggest they have better eco-credentials than they actually do.
Sian says that rather than huge corporations taking steps to change its own packaging – for example by removing the flimsy plastic that can’t be recycled and which ends up in landfill – these big companies instead often insist on putting the onus on to the consumer when it comes to recycling.
So our buying power says a lot. But knowing which brands are actually worth your money is hard. At the beginning of her quest, Sian set about making changes, like switching to a reusable coffee cup and moving over to a greener enegry supplier. But, then wondered: “What difference are my small changes really making?”
Her new book, Buy Better, Consume Less: Create Real Environmental Change (£14.99, Waterstones.com) breaks it all down for us in easy-to-read chapters. As well as talking about your buying power and the swaps you can make, Sian also advises on how to use your voice – as well as recommends practical tips that we can all use in order to hold brands accountable, and to make real, long-lasting change that has a positive impact on the climate crisis.
For Earth Day 2022, we asked Sian about the brands and products that really are worth buying today, and are doing what they say on the tin. These are the top 10 that Sian wholly recommends.