5 Great Documentaries That Will Make You Glad You're a Sustainable Shopper

And they just might convince the neighbors, too

Did you see the post about the conscious consumer’s summer reading list?

Did you think to yourself, “ain’t nobody got time for that” after reading the title?

This list was made just for you.

For those who prefer to watch, here are some of the best, most eye-opening documentaries about the way things get made that will definitely make you glad you’re a sustainable shopper.

And if you weren’t when you started watching, you may find your mind changed by the end!

So, load up Netflix and let’s get started.

#1 Poverty Inc.

If you haven’t seen this groundbreaking documentary yet, it’s time to give it a watch. When it was released in 2014, it made waves due to its bold assertion that many of the ways we’re doing charity simply don’t work.

I won’t spoil the ending for you, but the key takeaway of this movie is that giving those in poverty access to better jobs, and supporting the businesses that provide those jobs, is a more effective method of poverty alleviation than donating to a typical charity.

Since you’re already shopping with DoneGood, you probably knew that already!

#2 The True Cost

This 2015 documentary offers a look inside the garment industry at how the majority of our clothing is made. While the price of clothing has been steadily decreasing- the true cost, in terms of human suffering and environmental damage, has only been rising.

Filmed in several countries all over the world, The True Cost will show viewers the unseen workers who make our clothes in terrible conditions, being exposed to numerous health risks and paid nowhere near fairly.

You’ll also see the environmental impacts of the fast fashion industry that is drastically changing our landscape day by day.

This documentary may be difficult to sit through, but if you’re challenged by it, know that you won’t necessarily have to become a nudist afterward. There are plenty of clothing brands that produce high-quality clothing while treating their workers fairly and keeping environmental harm to a minimum. You just need to shop mindfully.


#3 No Impact Man

For a bit of levity, try watching No Impact Man, a documentary that follows Colin Beavan and his family as they try to do without plastics, electricity, carbon-producing transportation, and many other carbon-footprint increasing staples of daily living for a full year.

Colin certainly takes his desire for a sustainable, no impact lifestyle to an extreme that few would be willing to tolerate for the sake of his yearlong experiment. He eschews elevators, rides everywhere he needs to go on his bike, buys local foods, and even throws away his wife’s cosmetics!

If you need a little inspiration to make changes in your own family’s lifestyle, or just want to learn a few things from others’mistakes, check out No Impact Man. You’ll be inspired and entertained all at once!

#4 Minimalism

A large part of sustainable shopping is simply not buying what’s not necessary. By cutting down on superfluous purchases, you reduce your impact on the Earth as well as demand for more and more production. This documentary explores the philosophy behind living with less and the impact it can have on your life and your world.

Practicing minimalism can also help you break the urge to make impulsive purchases that often aren’t produced in the most sustainable or ethical ways. When you stop impulse buying, you give yourself more time to search and shop for alternatives that are in line with your values instead of buying the first thing you see in the store.


#5 Planet Earth

This doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom! After a few of these documentaries, you may start to feel a little hopeless, so it’s worth it to take a step back and refocus.

The breathtaking, high definition footage of natural wonders included in this documentary will give you a much-needed break and help to emphasize what exactly you’re protecting by shopping sustainably.


Kayla Robbins
DoneGood Contributor

A freelance writer working with bighearted businesses who want to better our world.



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