There's no question that the world needs more sustainable habits of developing and consuming products. But in emerging economies, whose role is it to make this happen? This was one of the topics we focused on at the recent International Business Forum (click here for a summary). We heard success stories like those of Tambul Leaf Plates, producing sustainable ecological products such as natural arecanut leaf plates that are used across India.
But it's not easy. There are challenges associated with supply chains and products themselves. There is a lack of finance for green start-ups. There is a lack of awareness among consumers about consumption patterns and environmental impacts.
All sectors have a role to play. Businesses can innovate around more sustainable methods of production. NGOs can work with business to help them become more sustainable, and can also help educate consumers. Governments can promote green business, and help develop markets for sustainable production and consumption.
What are your views on how we can make our production and consumption habits more sustainable?
it's a nice approach to leverage some existing public resources and "divert" them to a better cause then they're currently spent on. also, as it levels the playing fields in a "double way" (i.e. improving the payoff of the sustainable practice while discouraging the unsustainable one). Good luck with your good work, both on the ground as well as in terms of advocacy!
Policy makers should think on the reason they're in office: they are public servants. What has hampered a lot of changes in production processes is that politicians forget that public goes beyond the interests of corporations.
Indeed, integrating sustainability criteria in their public procurement is a good step, however radical measures are also needed. The latest example is the tax on sodas approved by the Mexican government that goes accompanied by an extensive campaign on the effects that sodas have in health (obesity, diabetes…) although the amount of the tax borders the ridicule (is like 5 cents of euro) the impact the campaign is having on the citizens is already showing a decrease in the sales of sodas.
Like this, there are many demonstration projects that aim to prompt a change in the consumers, in a way that they demand changes along the entire supply chain.
Donor organizations have the chance to reach out to different type of audiences and support their efforts, though sometimes they get lost in their own bureaucratic processes and very little is done to really measure the impact their donations are having.
Identifying success factors for scaling up the positive impacts of their projects is also something that can happen in partnership with local organizations that can support the work of donors and drive a change.
This is a very relevant topic, although the question has been discussed for yours, especially since the emergence of fair trade and other responsible/bio products. I believe education about labels, their meaning, their enforcement etc can help a lot. An educated consumer about labels and their implications is always better.
What we try to do at www.theimpactinvestor.net, is to educate consumers about social businesses, and social impact investing, available for them. we believe that this connection make them aware of the issues across the supply chain, from the initial funding itself. What is best than making the consumer himself a responsible investor?
That brings us to the end of our live session! Thank you everyone for such a great discussion. We'll leave the discussion open - so please feel free to continue to post your comments!
If you would like to read more about the issues discussed here, please read these blogs - published this week as part of a Green and Inclusive Business Special with the International Business Forum:
Thank you for interesting discussion!