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Be An Earth-Caring Consumer

by FOMCA (Environment Column, Yellowpost, January 04 – 10, 2008)

Sustainable Development is the most crucial issue in this millennium. However, achieving it by saving forest and its inhabitants is not the only solution. We have to tackle the issue at source. The changes in consumption pattern are very much related to usage of raw materials from natural resources. Achieving Sustainable Development through Sustainable Consumption (SC) can be seen as a more effective approach.

According to United Nations, SC is defined as, the use of services and related products which respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life while minimising the use of natural resources and toxic materials as well as the emissions of waste and pollutants over the life cycle so as not to jeopardise the needs of future generations.

This outlines that all products and services bought or used by consumers does pose threat to environment. It is important that the consumers realise importance of buying eco-friendly products or services. We also feel that there should be a better mechanism is addressing this roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders.

The Consumer (C) – Industry (I) – Government (G) mechanism or the CIG mechanism will ensure a better implementation of SC through a better definition of stakeholder’s responsibilities, enforcement and continuous consumer education.

Government should be looking into enforcement towards products and services based on eco-friendly needs. At the same time, government can give tax incentives to eco-friendly products and services. Continuous consumer education by government will also play an important role in educating consumers to change the consumption pattern.

The industries can respond to the urge of the government and also by guidelines outlined by the law. The industries can improve their environmental standing by carrying out Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and by achieving eco-labelling for their products or services.

Consumers can carry out their social responsibility by supporting eco-friendly products and practicing SC. The choice is always ours. If we choose to change we can change the normal supply and demand market into an eco-friendly market.

We always have to remember this world is the only one we have to live. Protect it for the future generation. Future is in your hand.