Sustainability is increasingly becoming the standard of living for many people. Apart from companies making changes to their processes, individuals are also making lifestyle changes.
Considering the state of our planet, it has become imperative that manufacturers, companies, and individuals collectively work to protect the earth’s natural resources. Human activity will continue to have adverse impacts on the environment if not treated cautiously. For instance, issues like pollution, water scarcity, and global warming are the side effects of our negligent use of resources.
To rectify these issues, it’s necessary to place sustainability at the center of our practices and actions. This includes being conscious of what we buy and consume.
Various industry practices have various environmental effects. As a result, we can notice shifts in the way some manufacturers now offer products and services. People no longer sit back as passive watchers. Rather, conscious consumers now demand accountability and transparency from companies.
Studies show that today people purchase more sustainable products than ever before. In fact, products marked as ‘sustainable’ accounted for $113.9B in sales in 20182, a 29% increase from 2013.
Research also shows that younger generations, Generations Y and Z, show more concern about climate change than older generations1. From the clothing they wear to the food they buy, this market segment prioritizes eco-friendly products. Since food and fashion (clothing) constitute basic needs we regularly shop for, let’s examine some effects of these industries’ processes:
The fashion industry has significant environmental effects. This industry is known for its significant use of natural resources and energy use when producing clothes. The fashion industry uses 93 billion cubic meters of water every year and accounts for 10% of the world’s annual global carbon emissions.
As a result, many sustainable clothing brands have been springing up over the years. These brands have decided to produce quality clothes while reducing their carbon footprint. They also employ sustainable manufacturing processes that reduce waste and preserve resources.
Food production and consumption are other aspects that have significant environmental impacts. Without employing sustainable methods, agriculture can lead to loss of soil fertility and contribute to water scarcity.
Also, unsustainable production methods lead to waste, causing pollution. And pollution affects not only the planet but also human well-being. Compared with conventional or industrial farming that relies on chemicals and GMOs, organic farming uses natural materials and processes.
Shopping sustainably has many benefits. These benefits extend not only to the planet but also to the people that make these products. If you’re wondering how buying sustainable products makes a difference, here are five reasons why:
Due to a lack of significant sustainable production and consumption patterns, we can notice the depletion of natural resources. Depleting the planet’s finite natural resources not only affects our present generation but significantly compromises the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
By choosing sustainable products, you’re making the mindful decision to reduce your ecological footprint. For instance, fast fashion is known for its excessive use of energy, water, and chemicals.
By switching to eco-friendly brands, you’re supporting businesses that prioritize protecting the planet. This shows up in the way these brands source, produce and distribute their products. Many use recycled materials, and source more sustainable fabrics and raw materials.
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Nowadays, the best of these companies have transparency reports on their website, making it easier to shop sustainably.
By choosing to buy sustainably, you’ll be reducing the amount of waste you generate. From the packaging of goods to the goods themselves, waste comes from various sources. Brands that produce without considering their environmental impact tend just to churn out as many products as possible.
On the other hand, brands with sustainable business models pay attention to the way they produce. Within the fashion industry, for instance, fast fashion brands use cheap materials, and production is often detrimental to the environment.
Ultimately, the clothing they make is destined to end up in landfills due to its poor quality. However, sustainable fashion prioritizes quality over quantity.
And today, you have a range of online choices to help your sustainable fashion choices, from shopping second-hand at online thrift stores to renting. Sustainable fashion brands produce high-quality pieces, making them last longer. This also helps you save money in the long run.
One of the significant reasons buying sustainably is important is that it helps curb our world’s greenhouse gas problem. Human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels for transport and heat cause an increase in these gases. Once released into the atmosphere, they pose health problems.
Also, these gases contribute to global warming, which has consequences like heat waves and soil degradation. By buying goods from sustainable brands or simply shopping local, you’re one step closer to reducing your environmental footprint. Further, shopping locally aids your local or wider communities.
Apart from the positive impact on the environment, buying sustainably also improves your health and well-being. Eco-friendly and sustainable products often have minimal to no toxic ingredients. For instance, sustainable food production doesn’t make use of harmful chemicals like pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
Even in the personal care category, green items are less likely to contain harmful substances that can affect your body. As a result, buying sustainably helps create a better world and better life for everyone.
As much as we all need certain appliances to live comfortably, some of these don’t have the best impact. From their manufacturing process to the energy consumption within the home, these goods do more harm than good.
One of the reasons more homes and brands rely on energy-efficient sources is to reduce the negative environmental impact. Misuse of energy shows up in different ways. It includes the amount required to make a product to the amount of electricity it requires to function.
By building an energy-efficient home, you’re contributing to a better future. So instead of your regular appliances, consider brands with energy efficiency certifications to help you reduce electricity consumption at home. Buying energy-saving equipment will also significantly reduce your electricity bills and save natural resources.
Whether shopping for personal or home items, it’s a good practice to prioritize sustainability. Lifestyle changes from one person can go on to inspire others and create significant world change.
By buying sustainable goods and energy-efficient products, you’re saying no to environmental degradation and yes to environmental or ethical principles that help protect our world. In addition, these choices greatly affect factory workers and future generations because sustainability covers people and the planet.
Ballew, M., Marlon, J., Rosenthal, S., Gustafson, A., Kotcher, J., Maibach, E., & Leiserowitz, A. (2019, June 11). Do younger generations care more about global warming? Yale Program on Climate Change Communication
Kronthal-Sacco, R., & Whelan, T. (2019, March 11). Sustainable Share Index™: Research on IRI Purchasing Data (2013-2018). NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business
Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.
Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.