Conscious Consumers Movement

5 December 2011

A project encouraging Wellington cafes to reduce the environmental and social impact of their businesses is now inviting coffee drinkers to join in.

Ben Gleisner in Ti Kouka, a participating cafe in the Conscious Consumers Movement

Ben Gleisner in Ti Kouka, a participating cafe in the Conscious Consumers Movement

Wellingtonians can join the 'conscious consumer' movement by signing up online. Being a conscious consumer means thinking about how the purchases we make every day can affect other people and the planet.

The cafes project received an environmental grant from the Council in 2008 to get established and is run by Conscious Consumers New Zealand, a Wellington-based, not-for-profit organisation.

Since then the programme has expanded to Auckland and the Waikato with funding from those councils.

Ben Gleisner, from Conscious Consumers, says the project promotes nine business practices for participating cafes.

"We've developed a series of badges we award to these cafes when they can demonstrate they adhere to the practice, such as allowing customers to bring their own reusable coffee cup for a takeaway instead of using a disposable cup."

The badges can be displayed in the window or in-store to let customers know they care about more than just making money.

"We also encourage consumers to ask cafes about how they've been awarded their badges which, in turn, helps cafes continue to improve the way they run their businesses," says Ben.

Cafes are also encouraged to serve certified Fairtrade coffee, offer free range eggs, seasonal or organic produce, recycle and compost their waste (which may include providing leftover edible food to charity) and to use ecopackaging and eco-friendly cleaning products.

The Conscious Consumers cafes project plans to expand to other business sectors next year.

For more information, or to join the movement and receive monthly guilt-free deals from participating cafes as well as tips on being a conscious consumer:

Conscious Consumers website