WHAT IS RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION? FIND OUT IF YOU PRACTICE IT!
Every day we’re more aware of the impact of our daily consumption. It affects not only society and the economy, but also our planet and our health, we have even started doing sustainable tourism! Also, consumers and companies are increasingly talking about “responsible consumption”.
But what does it mean? How to consume responsibly? Let’s find out!
What is responsible consumption?
Responsible consumption, as its name suggests, is a form of consumption that takes into account the bases and objectives of sustainable development. In other words, it’s a way of consuming that is beneficial considering 3 different pillars, in no specific order.
Benefits the local economy
First, responsible consumption benefits economic growth, especially the local economy. This happens because it allows the trade of services and goods, benefiting the agents that are involved in the exchanges.
Has a positive impact on society
It also has a positive impact on society, since the products or services purchased are linked to a workforce that has fair wages and working conditions, that is, that respect the human rights of workers, and are also positively good for the buyer’s health.
Positively influences the actions of buyers
In the end, a responsible consumer also recognizes the impacts associated with the different stages of the products, from production, transportation, to disposal, and tries to buy those with the least environmental impact or those that are local.
Differences between responsible consumption and sustainable consumption
We are used to using the term “sustainable consumption” when we talk about the responsibility of consumption. However, the definition of responsible consumption is much broader.
Sustainable consumption applies more specifically to the concept of sustainability, that is, the environmental dimension of the purchase of goods and services. Sustainable consumption can be defined in three dimensions:
- Buy better: buy more ecological products.
- Consume better: waste less and have a more sustainable consumption.
- Recycle better: take more account of recycling in particular.
As we have mentioned, responsible consumption has a broader meaning. It implies the concept of consumer responsibility that can affect many areas, from the ecological impact of consumption to its social, economic, and health impact.
To better differentiate these two concepts, we can say that sustainable consumption means consuming in a way that allows us to preserve our resources and the environment as much as possible. Instead, responsible consumption means having a more environmentally friendly consumption but also considering the social and economic impacts of consumption.
Are you a responsible consumer?
If you want to know if you are a responsible consumer, you should follow at least one of these criteria:
Consumption of organic products with low environmental impact
- Products that respect the environment or biodiversity.
- Commodities with a low carbon footprint.
- Organic products.
- Goods that preserve the quality of the soil, water, and air, and in general prevent pollution, deforestation, and the depletion of natural resources.
Consumption of products according to their impact on societies
- Goods are made in good working conditions, without forced child labor, and that respect the working day and international agreements.
- Products manufactured following ethical standards.
- Products manufactured in cooperation with local communities, respecting their lifestyles and their commercial benefits.
Consumption of “healthier” products, respecting health standards
- Products without phthalates, bisphenol, and other toxic and dangerous products.
- Products without pesticides or other chemical inputs.
- Products manufactured following hygiene standards.
- Food products with a healthy nutritional composition.
Consumption of products with positive economic impact
- Locally made products.
- Productions that promote the economic autonomy of their producers.
- Goods that generate more jobs, as well as the economic and social integration of workers.
- Products that promote the quality of work-life of employees.
The consumption of products manufactured under conditions that respect certain ethical or moral principles:
- Respect for animal welfare
- Respect for equity and individual freedoms
- Any other principle that contributes to the development of the general interest.
Responsible consumption: an individual definition
As we have seen, the definition of responsible consumption is homogeneous and depends on the concerns of consumers. The fundamental point of responsible consumption is to be aware of the impacts of consumption on these different criteria and act to make this consumption more positive.
And you, do you follow responsible consumption?