Responsible consumption is a purchasing decision that analyzes the environmental and social justice impacts that this entails.
In the consumer society it is necessary to ask what is responsible consumption? Usually this purchase decision seeks to satisfy a need and at the same time achieve the existence of a sustainable society, that is, to promote relations of production, distribution, consumption and waste disposal that are less harmful to the environment.
In many cases it also requires, for example, a rethinking of one’s own wishes to acquire goods or services, in order to adjust the purchase decision to real needs.
Responsible consumption habits
Some of the objectives or actions for responsible consumption include:
- Analyze the environmental impact with respect to the useful life cycle of the product.
- Type of trade that is favored with the purchase decision.
- The quality of the products that are purchased.
- The time in which non-renewable resources are consumed must be equal to the replacement time of renewable resources.
- Align the amount of waste emission and pollution with the assimilation capacity of the ecosystems themselves.
- Locate and establish consumer preferences for products and services, in the production process of which respect the environment and social justice.
- Search to reuse the products that have been purchased in order to avoid acquiring more.
- Receive goods on loan or donation, in order to avoid acquiring a new product.
- Avoid purchasing goods that are single-use or disposable.
- Avoid acquiring products whose packaging generates an increase in environmental pollution and ensure that returnable, reusable or biodegradable packaging.
Benefits of responsible consumption
Among the many benefits of responsible consumption we can highlight the following:
- Reduction of pollution levels and ecological footprint.
- Savings in the consumption of natural resources for the production of the goods and services acquired.
- Distribution of wealth more equitably.
- Environmental awareness.
- Increase in the savings rate of citizens.
- Support for small producers that respect the environment.
- Savings in fossil fuels.
- Improving the health of consumers who practice it.
- Reuse or recycling of waste.
Currents that support responsible consumption
There are currents that rely on responsible consumption as the cornerstone of their principles, such as: fair trade, cooperativism, barter of organic products, solidarity economy, vegetarianism, collaborative consumption, etc.
Principles of responsible consumption
People who prefer responsible consumption want to give a message to the market, through their purchasing decisions and follow certain principles that guide their actions when purchasing goods and services, such as:
- Work principle: It fulfills the function of generating decent jobs. That is, jobs that are adequately paid or commensurate with the effort and time that is dedicated to the production process.
- Principle of equity: It complies with the inclusion of all sectors of the population within the production process. For example, gender, indigenous community, sexual preference, age that can legally work, etc.
- Environmental sustainability: If it meets the least negative environmental impact during the production process.
- Cooperation principle : It complies with a good relationship between producers, between producer and government, between governments, etc.
- Non-profit: In case this is the case, if you analyze who the initiative benefits, if it is speculation only for advertising image or if it really is about supporting a vulnerable sector of the population.
- Commitment to the environment: It complies with supporting the community, for example; supplying raw material from the locality, preferring products and services, which in their elaboration, employ people from the same locality, among others.
Importance of responsible consumption
Responsible consumption has become essential in order to guarantee the sustainability of the planet. In this sense, a social awareness about this aspect is necessary in order to reduce the pollution rates that we currently suffer.
It is a habit of consumption that allows citizens to enjoy an adequate standard of living, harming the environment as little as possible. In this way, consumers acquire in the market the amount of goods and services that they really need and that guarantee respect for the sustainability of our ecosystems.
Types of responsible consumption
There are many types of responsible consumption, we highlight below the most important:
- Sustainable consumption: It is based on consuming goods and services that use renewable energy sources in their production and do not use products that are harmful to the environment.
- Solidarity consumption: It is that consumption carried out with a social perspective and that is of both own and collective interest. It has a focus related to supporting local workers and businesses.
- Critical consumption: Consists of consuming only what is necessary, leaving aside advertising impacts or certain social trends.
- Conscious consumption: It occurs when the consumer is aware of the repercussions that the acquisition of a certain good or service has on the environment.
Examples of responsible consumption
We propose some examples of responsible consumption:
- Ecological food products.
- Recycled office paper.
- Technological devices with reused components.
- Solar panels.
- Personal care products without chemicals that are harmful to the environment.