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Independent Professional: Experienced educator and management consultant for engineering educational institutions, researcher, trainer, technical consultant on sustainable technologies, related to cement manufacturing and characterisation, using industrial and agricultural wastes in cement and concrete, durability of concrete and fuel cell power.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sustainable consumption

Cooperation in business and consumers

Although people want to live more sustainably, there are still plenty of barriers keeping them from acting in tune with their thoughts. A sustainable society won't be born out of just consumer choices, but out of business actions as well.

Global consumption patterns are not sustainable, and have already had detrimental impacts on the earth environment. The world is experiencing rapid population growth and more people are consuming more, especially in emerging countries.

While survey after survey shows consumers are, on the whole, concerned about their impacts on the environment and willing to act, they do not always follow through with different behaviors. The reasons for that are numerous: some green choices are not cost effective, it is inconvenient to give up certain things and there is a general lack of understanding or confusion around areas like product labeling.

The role of business in moving the world towards sustainable consumption is to make sustainability commonplace. Companies must make green choices easy to make as well as easy to understand, affordable and comparable to conventional choices.

Businesses also need to innovate new products and service, harness the power of marketing and new forms of communication to influence consumer choices, and eliminate unsustainable products and services.

For many products, like cars, detergent and electronics, the biggest impacts come from their use. A company could have a LEED certified, energy efficient factory, but if the company makes laundry detergent that requires massive amounts of hot water when its used, it's still contributing to unsustainable actions, no matter how green its operations are. Making detergent that works in cold water, though, helps bring down the environmental impact of all end users.

Source: GreenBiz.com, 19 December 2008