People have righteous intentions but do not always follow up with actions that match their words and beliefs. What happens between a consumer setting their intentions of living more sustainably by changing their consumption habits and making that change is life.
Whether it is a constraint in the time you need an item by, or a lack of excess time to spend researching ideal products, there are many reasons intentions fall flat. Also, becoming a conscious consumer and “doing the right thing” comes with a price tag. Because of these factors, consumers often rely on certifications.
As a consumer, we are bombarded with certifications and nebulous terms when we go shopping, such as Fairtrade, Oekto-Tex, and of course, “organic”. These certifications are used to make consumers feel better about their purchases. For example, if you buy Fairtrade coffee, you are assured that the workers who harvested the coffee work in better conditions than most coffee companies.
However, coffee is a commodity. A bean picked on a Fairtrade farm will taste the same as one without a seal stating, “picked next door”. Furthermore, the sense of worker well-being or that you are not contributing to a problem often comes with a larger price tag.
The fundamental and critical difference about a DFL product is that it will add value for the consumer. A sectional couch from West Elm or Restoration Hardware may include recycled fabric or Fairtrade organic cotton, but that is not necessarily useful to the consumer. Do those companies make it easy to repair or replace pieces of the couch? How long is their warranty policy? Are they innovating on their product platform so in 5 years you can add new features to the same couch? A DFL certification will give consumers insight into those tangible benefits for themselves. Buying a DFL product is not about feeling like your purchase is better for the planet or society; it is about making a purchase that is better for you in the long-term.
DFL consumers will buy into circularity without knowing they have agreed to buy into this game. They will buy products because it not only makes sense for them, but there is value in the features of a DFL product. Once these consumers have a DFL product in their home and they interact with it, by adding additional features, or replacing a small part, they will learn the benefits of buying Designed For Life and look for more ways to incorporate these products into their lives.