Sustainable consumption: making important choices

What is the meaning of “sustainability” in terms of a consumer product or an industrial process? It is a word which is gradually replacing the terms “eco-friendly” and “eco-compatibility”, because it is conceptually broader and more comprehensive. In fact, “sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

This definition was provided in 1987 by the Brundtland Report, written by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), and has gained increasing relevance and urgency in today’s world. Every day humanity is showing that it is living in an unsustainable way, consuming or polluting all the resources that the planet is able to offer, for example water, forests and the atmosphere itself. But it doesn’t stop there. All too often, the products that we buy are the result of processes which pollute our planet and deplete its resources, of activities which exploit other people by imposing excessive working hours or low pay, in impoverished countries where workers are denied access to resources which should be a right of all people, such as healthcare, education and wellbeing.

According to Emma Ginger, a UK expert on “critical consumption”, nowadays choosing a sustainable product means evaluating a company’s entire philosophy and ethics, evaluating their practices and processes, the raw materials they use and their design and packaging choices. It isn’t enough to buy organic carrots, if they are packaged using non-recyclable materials! Choosing a 100% sustainable product instead means making an intelligent and beneficial investment: for the sake of everyone’s future. Choosing a 100% sustainable product instead means making an intelligent and advantageous investment: for everyone’s future.