This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
the planet Earth. World over, economic development has come at the cost of environment only. Global warming, an outcome of greenhouse gas emission, is the price the world pays for its over ambitious growth. It is a movement to encourage people to buy food and other products such as organic food, lead-free petrol etc. which are considered as environmental friendly. It refers to recycling, purchasing and using eco-friendly products that minimize damage to the environment. The root of green consumerism was in 1987, when a British Company called the Body Shop won the UK “Company of the Year” Business Enterprise Awards. The Body Shop was then “riding high on a wave of green consumerism’ as an outlet for “Cruelty – free, minimally packaged, natural ingredient soaps. It was expanding at the rate of 20 new outlets a year and its extraordinary success helped to inspire several authors to write about green economics and green consumerism. It was around that time when Margaret Thatcher declared herself as green. As green consumerism germinated in early 1989, the popular media rushed to inform the public about their new responsibility to consume green or environmental friendly product. More and more business and industries are joining in the green movement, either out of a real interest in saving the planet or a desire to capitalize on the growing consumer demand for greener ways. In India, though consumerism is gaining momentum after 1991, when India threw her doors open to international trade, and the situation changed dramatically and so did consumerism in India, but green consumerism is not getting due priority, so it is growing in very slow pace. As a majority of Indian consumers are comparatively poor, their choice of products is naturally chiefly influenced by price. Other issues, such as environmental impact, play little role in their choice of products. As environmentally friendly products usually cost more, only consumers with higher purchasing power are willing to pay the premium price because of their concern for environment. Government, business organizations and consumers are triad for green consumerism in India. Government of India has already taken initiative by imposing many rules and regulations regarding environmental preservation across the country, like imposing the use of CNG buses and auto rickshaws in cities like Delhi, Ahmadabad etc. to curb pollution. This calls for automobile makers to stick to the environmental norms and also come up with some new innovative technologies, which are environmental friendly. The manufacture, sale and use of recycled plastic bags for storing, carrying or packaging food items has been banned in Kerala and a few other states like Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh including Meghalaya also has banned the use of polythene bags. The Government of India has also launched the Ecolabeling scheme known as Eco- Marks. The Scheme was launched with a view to provide an incentive for manufacturers and importers to reduce the detrimental impact of the products, assist consumers to become environmental friendly in their daily lives. However it is unfortunate that not a single product in the Indian market bears an Eco-Mark (R. Marvin M, 2012). Many business organization mainly in corporate sector have started incorporating green activities however these activities are done as a part of either a corporate social responsibility or as a part of corporate sustainability. Royal Dutch Shell operated LNG Plant in Hazira which is one of the
company’s largest ventures in India is completely a green business. Hero Honda has been consistently been working towards the elimination of harmful substances such as asbestos and hexavalent chromium from its products. JK Tyres developed eco-friendly tyres and launched them on the world environment day on June 5, 2002. Government and business organizations have already started their initiatives in the greening process. In India, a very few consumers are green conscious. They seek green goods like ayurvedic medicines, natural dyes, natural textiles, bio-fertilizer, bio-pesticides, organic foods, herbal cosmetics etc. The demand and knowledge about green products and services is very less among the Indian consumers. It is also believed that whatsoever little demand exists in the market exists out of the reason of the economy that it provides and not out of the environment friendliness of the consumer (Tikoo, 1998). Considering the bad impacts on environment, environmentalism is a major concern and firms are forced to adopt environmentally friendly market practices such as developing and marketing products which are recyclable, more fuel efficient, less polluting, bio-degradable and reusable. Government and NGO’s have to play an important role on marketing green ideas more intensively to make people more aware and knowledgeable about environmental issues and problems, so that there will be a new breed of green minded consumers to keep themselves healthy as well as there will be a great contribution to preserve our planet healthy for our next generations.
Green consumerism creates a balance between the expectations of consumer behaviour and businesses' profit motives - within the orbit of environmental protection. It is increasingly calls upon to look at the entire life cycle of a consumer's purchases - because a consumer does not just buys 'a' product, but also everything that went into its production, and everything that will happen in the future as a result of that product. We need to realize that all products have an environmental impact, however small. The concept of green consumers also focusses on businesses, and their survivability as they respond quickly to demands of consumers for products and services that are also environmentally friendly
A Quick Introduction to Green Consumerism
Green consumerism creates a balance between the expectations of consumer behaviour and businesses' profit motives. Points to be noted: Markets don't wait for slow movers. Businesses that innovate and respond quickly to consumer demands survive best. Everyone has a part to play, at various levels of administration, manufacture and use. A consumer has to realize that he/she not just buys 'a' product, but everything that
went into its production, and everything that will happen in the future as a result of that product. All products have an environmental impact, however small. The idea is to reduce it to the minimum. "A 'cradle-to-grave' approach should be used to understand green products"
" ... even green products have an environmental impact"
"The greenest option: don't buy!"
Key impacts of green products: Consumers have been asking for green products, ie there has been a clear raise in demand for such products. Businesses have looked into the green process - generating corporate environmental profiles, monitoring and evaluating green performance, and improving corporate image as a result. Green products have also increased competition among businesses to generate more environmentally friendly products. Ecolabelling networks that monitor and evaluate green products have been developed in many countries. These networks have done life cycle analyses to understand the impact of products. Governments have also taken several measures that have supported and facilitated such moves by businesses. "The triple bottom line: economically viable, environmentally sound, and socially responsible"
"Life Choices: Green consumerism is not just what we buy, but also how we live"
"Consumer is a change agent and is proactive"
Key issues for the future include: Health: A sentary lifestyle combined with health impacts of environmental pollution and emissions, use and abuse of pesticides, anti-biotics etc. Population and consumption: Population increases, aging populations, consumption patterns - living beyond means, etc. Globalization: Transboundary effect and free trade have both advantages (efficiency, profits, opportunities, demand) and disadvantages (unemployment, footloose companies, weaker controls, unfair trade, small scale loses out) etc. Energy: Every source of energy has an environmental impact. Energy efficiency is not just technology, but also cutting back. There are enough cars to create a six-lane traffic jam to the moon. Water: Water use is increasing at twice the rate of population increase. Much can be done at the individual level. Chemicals: Use of pesticides and other hazardous chemicals. PCB?DDT has been found in mother's milk too! Ozone depleting chemicals, hormone-disrupting chemicals have long term effects on human health and well-being. Genetic engineering: Includes many ethical and moral issues, including misinformation. Not that genetic engineering is bad - but the consumer should be
given the choice. Natural World: Considerable pressures put on the natural world due to population increases and rise in consumption. 40% of all plant growth consumed by humans! Somewhere, something should stop. Ethics: The treatment of other peoples. Issues of gender, children, animal welfare. Ethics of cloning, fertility et al. Fair Trade: Nee to look into working conditions (child labour, low wages, long hours, lack of safety, mass production v/s craft industries. Neighbourhoods: Development of a sense of community. Increase in financial wealth, but also of quality of life. Measure "gross national happiness"!! Childhood: Loss of 'childhood' due to societal pressures and expectations, knowledge and skills, etc.
"Green consumerism involves actions from the government sector, the private sector and the civil society"
"If everyone in the world lived a lifestyle like Japan, then we would need three planets"
"20% of the population use 80% of the resources"
The Year 2000 - Creating a future we want: make intelligent life choices use people power for positive change act as well as think set clear priorities fight for the right to know understand the bigger picture respect the living world expect the unexpected happiness cannot be bought practice give-and-take
The Power of Green Consumers
Review of Vital Signs 2002
Well-informed consumers are emerging as a new force in the global struggle to create an environmentally sustainable world, reports a new study by the Worldwatch Institute, a Washington, DC-based environmental and social policy research organization. Aided by labeling programs, standards, and an expanding group of social and environmental certification organizations, the world's consumers are 'voting with their wallets' for products and services that promote sustainable development. 'Some free market advocates claim that the market automatically gives people all the choices they want and all the information they need,' says Michael Renner, Worldwatch Senior Researcher and Project Director for Vital Signs 2002. 'But what consumers are
demonstrating is that they want more environmentally acceptable choices than the market has been delivering, and more trustworthy information about the social and environmental impact of the products they might buy.' 'Vital Signs 2002' produced with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the W. Alton Jones Foundation - documents many instances where consumers, often aided by information-brokering organizations, are seeking out goods and services that promote sustainable development: The Mexico-based Forest Stewardship Council has certified over 25 million hectares of commercial forest in 54 countries as meeting social and environmental standards for sustainable forestry, more than double the area in 1998 (p. 70). Worldwide, buyers of energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) have eliminated the need for nearly 40 medium-sized, coal-fired power plants (p. 46). At the seafood counter, consumers can now find rock lobster, cockles, hoki, mackerel, herring, and salmon that carry the Marine Stewardship Council's logo as having been harvested under environmentally responsible management (pp. 124-125). Thai consumers have used information from an appliance-labeling program to drive the market share of energy efficient, single-door refrigerators from 12 percent in 1996 to 96 percent in 1998 (p. 132). In 21 European countries, beachgoers follow the ratings of the European Blue Flag campaign to find some 2,750 beaches and marinas with high environmental standards and sanitary and safe facilities (pp. 124-125). Coffee drinkers in the US and Canada can ask for their coffee to be brewed from beans carrying the Bird Friendly seal of approval from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. This program certifies that the beans meet standards for shade farming and organic production (pp. 124-125).
'Changing consumption and production patterns will be high on the agenda of this year's World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD)," says Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of UNEP. 'Consumers will not save the world by themselves, but they are welcome allies in a struggle where we are going to need all the help we can get." Vital Signs 2002 highlights several sectors where consumer pressure could be pivotal in getting industry and regulatory bodies to step up to the plate. The electronics industry in 2001 produced 60 million transistors for every man, woman, and child on Earth. California's Santa Clara County, the birthplace of the semiconductor industry, now contains more toxic waste sites than any other county in the United States. In 1997, more than 2.9 million tons of e-waste ended up in US landfills, and by 2004, tens of millions of cell phones and an estimated 315 million computers may be headed for our dumps. 'We tend to think of the 'new economy' as being cleaner than the 'smokestack economy,'' Renner says. 'But manufacturing semiconductors is chemical-intensive. And the short lifespan of these products is creating mountains of electronics waste, poisoning groundwater supplies, and endangering human health. Cell phone and computer users should be demanding that manufacturers take their products back, and design them to be recycled instead of dumped.' The cruise ship industry is another industry ripe for pressure from consumers. The number of people taking a cruise vacation more than doubled between 1990 and 2000, to almost 10 million passengers a year. The industry's environmental record has been dismal. Overall, the
world's cruise ships discharge some 33 million tons of raw sewage and garbage into the oceans each year. Cruise ship passengers could use their vacation dollars to favor companies that meet strict environmental standards.
Some examples of Green Consumerism
The Mexico-based Forest Stewardship Council has certified over 25 million hectares of commercial forest in 54 countries as meeting social and environmental standards for sustainable forestry, more than double the area in 1998. Worldwide, buyers of energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) have eliminated the need for nearly 40 medium-sized, coal-fired power plants. At the seafood counter, consumers can now find rock lobster, cockles, hoki, mackerel, herring, and salmon that carry the Marine Stewardship Council's logo as having been harvested under environmentally responsible management. Thai consumers have used information from an appliance-labeling program to drive the market share of energy efficient, single-door refrigerators from 12 percent in 1996 to 96 percent in 1998. In 21 European countries, beachgoers follow the ratings of the European Blue Flag campaign to find some 2,750 beaches and marinas with high environmental standards and sanitary and safe facilities. Coffee drinkers in the US and Canada can ask for their coffee to be brewed from beans carrying the Bird Friendly seal of approval from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. This program certifies that the beans meet standards for shade farming and organic production.
New Economy, Not Clean Economy
In 2001, about 520 million people used the Internet, which encompassed 147 million host computers, almost double the number in 1999. And the number of mobile telephone subscribers rose to almost 1 billion in 2001, nearly pulling even with the number of fixed-line connections. A single semiconductor plant may use between 500 and 1,000 different chemicals, making the semiconductor industry one of the most chemically intensive ever known. A computer monitor contains 1.8 to 3.6 kilograms of lead, a heavy metal that damages the nervous system and poisons blood cell development. In some American businesses, one computer is used per user per year, fueling a growing waste crisis. And at least 315 million computers in the United States are predicted to become obsolete by 2004. 300?500 million metric tons of hazardous waste were generated worldwide each year during the past decade, amounting roughly to 50-83 kilograms per person in 1999 alone. Discarded cell phones are a growing contributor to electronic waste, as consumers seek the latest technology and manufacturers introduce disposable models.
The Thirst For Sugar
The United States, with less than 5 percent of world population, is the largest carbonated
soft drink consumer, accounting for one third of total soda consumption in 1999. China, with about 20 percent of world's population, is the fourth largest consumer of soda and is growing rapidly. Soda consumption contributes to tooth decay, nutrient deficiencies, and caffeine dependence. A recent study showed a direct correlation between consumption of sugarsweetened drinks and childhood obesity. In 2000, the two largest soft drink corporations, the Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo. spent $4.6 billion worldwide on advertising, a significant portion of which targeted children.
In the United States, the share of harvests lost to pests has increased from 30 percent in the early 1940s to 37 percent in the 1990s - despite a 10-fold increase in pesticide use. The US constitutes about 40 percent of the world market for household pesticides, with annual sales exceeding $1 billion. China is the second largest market with $580 million in sales. The United Kingdom spends roughly $200 million each year to remove pesticides from drinking water, equal to one quarter of what British farmers spend on pesticides themselves each year.
Energy efficiency labeling programs can be found in 43 countries around the globe, a sevenfold increase since 1980. If 20 percent of American consumers were influenced to purchase one of the most efficient refrigerators available, the electricity savings would eliminate the need for more than four large power plants. Wind energy remains the world's fastest-growing energy source. Wind generating capacity reached 24,800 megawatts in 2001, up 37 percent from 18,100 megawatts in 2000. Production of photovoltaic (solar) cells exceeded 390 megawatts in 2001, marking the fourth straight year of growth at or above 30 percent.
The European Automobile Manufacturers Association has offered a voluntary commitment to increase auto fuel efficiency standards to 41 miles per gallon (5.7 liters per 100 kilometers) by 2008. In Japan, regulations will likely bring about an improvement to about 35 miles per gallon (6.7 liters per 100 kilometers) for new models by 2010. Currently, the combined fuel economy of new passenger cars and light trucks in the US stands at just 24.7 miles per gallon (9.5 liters per 100 kilometers), the second-worst figure in 20 years. Car sharing is emerging rapidly in Europe, North America and Asia. Each shared car is estimated to eliminate four cars from the road. A lane of light rail can move four to eight times more people per hour than a lane of highway.
Boom and Bust
The largest generation of young people in human history (1.7 billion people aged 10-24) is now reaching reproductive age.
Half the population of Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Syria is under 25, while over 60 percent of Pakistan and Afghanistan's populations fall into that category. Every day, 30,000 children under the age of 5 die of preventable causes.
More than a quarter of all children in South Asia and 40 percent of all children in Africa did not have access to formal education in 1998. Half of California's new schoolteachers in 2000 had either no credentials or were inadequately prepared for the subjects they taught. Many highly qualified teachers from developing countries are being recruited to fill positions in US and European schools.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.