To begin, a primary aspect of pursuing a personal sustainability plan is the recognition that every action is part of a larger whole. The purchases you make not only affect you and your family, but they also affect an entire supply chain that brought that item to market.
As we have discussed in other posts, consumers are playing a major role in defining the alternative product options and reshaping the direction of many industries.
As sustainability consultants, we see some common best practices in responsible personal purchasing:
- Research before you buy.
- Become familiar with eco-labels.
- Buy local and organic.
- Use recycled content products everywhere you can.
- Buy Fair Trade.
- Consider the source when you make a purchase.
- Consider buying “Pre-Owned” goods or remanufactured products whenever possible.
- Eliminate disposable items
- Consider the packaging of the item
- Consider the eventual disposal of the item
- Buy Cradle-To-Cradle whenever possible.
As John Ehrenfeld, Executive Director of the International Society for Industrial Ecology and former Director of the MIT Program on Technology, Business, and Environment says: “Reducing unsustainability (greening) is not the same as creating sustainability.” The highest order in purchasing is to only buy truly sustainable products and services.
The successful implementation of responsible personal purchasing requires understanding, effort, and commitment. Our professional consulting focuses on the personal sustainability drivers that help you see the value and align the practices with your current lifestyle.
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