Is consuming less the way to a better world?

09/01/2016 05:35 am ET

 

We should buy high quality, instead of buying less. If we stop buying, our society will come to a standstill.

Oftentimes, today, we hear about conscious consumption being the same as no consumption.

James Wallman’s bestseller “Stuffocation” encourages individuals to stop consuming, because it makes us unhappy, and Dave Bruno’s “The 100 Things Challenge” inspires people on social media to merely live with only 100 possessions.

I see the trend as a natural backlash to the crazy consumption of the pre financial crisis. Hold on for a minute. Is consuming less really the way forward?

I do not believe so. I agree that careless overconsumption is a problem, but as a society we need consumption. Without consumption our society will come to a standstill, companies will shut down, and people will lose their jobs.


Focus on
quality

I believe that instead of focusing on less consumption, we should focus on conscious consumption. Conscious consumption does not mean to stop buying. Conscious consumption is simply about buying products of high quality.

For example, instead of buying three cheap t-shirts, buy one of high quality, which will last much longer. Make sure that you buy products from companies who consider sustainability and environmental impacts in their manufacturing and business model.

As consumers, we are not able to save the planet alone. We can influence it by buying a product that is sustainable and makes a difference. That goes for cosmetics, vehicles, beverages, furniture or services.

 

IKEA’s great challenge

IKEA is a good example of a company with great challenges when it comes to sustainability. They make a living selling inexpensive products, which almost always encourage use-and-throw-away. That’s why IKEA is working hard on becoming 100% sustainable and aspires to have all of their products and packaging made from either reusable, reused or recycled materials.

It is important as a company to gradually change your business model, leaving a more positive impact on society and the environment. Companies need to recycle more and become better at manufacturing both products and packaging from recycled materials.

 

Recycled clothes and 200.000 trees

At Sprout our business concept is built on the idea of developing products that can be upcycled and thereby reduce waste: use, use again as something totally different, and send back in to the circulation (compost your pencil stub).

Many of the big companies have realized that sustainability is profitable. H&M has with great success created a concept where customers get a voucher when they hand in their old and used clothes. Nike has started to make shoes from recycled materials, and have reduced their packaging so that they save 200.000 trees a year.

Both companies make money like never before, while being among the top companies in the world with the most ambitious sustainability goals. Ten years ago, sustainability was part of their marketing strategy, but today it is an integrated part of their business DNA.

We do not only need to consume less. We need to consume with consciousness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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