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What is Sustainable Consumption?

Meaning of Sustainable Consumption

Sustainable consumption appears as one of the alternatives to solve environmental problems caused by current patterns of production and consumption of goods.

Sustainable consumption is characterized by the consumption of goods and services with respect for natural resources, so that the needs of current generations are met without prejudice to future generations.

It consists of the acquisition of goods and services that satisfy the basic needs of people, prioritizing the minimization of environmental degradation.

The current consumption pattern of capitalist society works as a manifestation of values ​​and the social position of consumers.

Quality of life and happiness have been increasingly related to material achievement, leading to a vicious circle: the individual works to consume more and more .

The individual consumes to have a social identity , to be part of a group and to create bonds. But this pattern of consumption is environmentally unsustainable, since the excessive use of natural resources and the large amount of waste generated contribute to environmental degradation.

Sustainable consumption goes beyond the so-called “ green consumption ”, which consists of consumers choosing products that do not harm the environment. From production to disposal, they are ” ecologically correct ” products.

In other words, green consumers are encouraged to switch from one brand to another, while sustainable consumption is a goal to be achieved through collective actions and political, economic and institutional changes that prioritize reducing and modifying consumption patterns. consumption and not just product substitution.

need and desire

The consumer assumes a fundamental role in achieving sustainable consumption . Before buying anything, we must ask ourselves if we really need this product, it is necessary to distinguish between needs and wants.

The needs are related to everything that is essential (food, decent housing, clothing). While desires have a psychological origin and are infinite. We must try to live with less and not acquire superfluous goods.

In addition, we must incorporate into our lives several sustainable attitudes that will become a habit over time, such as: prioritizing products and services produced with respect for the environment at the time of purchase, carrying a bag to do the shopping, avoiding disposable products , reusing materials, correctly separating waste for recycling, saving water, not wasting food, leaving the car at home whenever possible, valuing companies that are environmentally responsible.

Public Policies for Sustainable Consumption

The government, on the other hand, has a responsibility to develop public policies and educational programs to raise awareness and encourage sustainable consumption.

Supporting research aimed at the development of clean technologies , to develop and regulate laws, standards and guidelines that promote changes in consumption patterns, to issue public notices. purchase of sustainable products, among other actions.

The performance of companies is also essential in the search for sustainable consumption . To do this, companies must adopt some measures, such as: consider environmental aspects and not only economic ones in the manufacture of products, practice the maximum reduction in the consumption of energy and natural resources and in the generation of waste during manufacturing processes. manufacturing, advertising is not intended to stimulate consumerism, develop sustainable consumption practices within the company with employees.

Take advantage of natural light, turn off the lights in the corridor, avoid printing on paper, eliminate the use of disposable cups, etc.

This set of actions does not yet cover all the complexity that sustainable consumption represents , but they are possible responsibilities to be assumed and implemented by all those involved in this process and for this reason they contribute significantly to changes in production and consumption patterns.

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