Our economies are geared towards continuous growth and rely on people buying more "stuff."
We’re already demanding more resources than the Earth can provide, contributing to climate change, water scarcity, pollution, and biodiversity loss. But, as the global population grows further, business as usual will accelerate this destruction.
But consumer markets can also be a force for good and halt this destruction, provided individuals insist on purchasing products that are produced sustainably, in harmony with nature.
Your choice of chocolate bar – or any other product − is just one link in the complex webs of supply and demand that touch every corner of the planet.
The chocolate bar you bought could contain cocoa, palm oil and soy that have contributed to deforestation. It could have sugar that’s polluted rivers and impacted coral reefs. And it could come in a plastic wrapper that will still be harming our environment in 500 years.
Then again, perhaps it’s been produced by a community cooperative according to the highest environmental and ethical standards. And by buying it, you’re supporting reforestation that will protect both wildlife and people’s livelihoods.
Be a conscious consumer:
- Know where your food is from – ask grocers, butchers and fishmongers how they source their products
- Support businesses who are transparent about their ingredients and where they are from
- If a company refuses to use sustainable ingredients, think about buying a different brand
- If you’re eating fish or meat, try to understand what the animal was fed – you are what you eat
- Buy food which has been certified sustainable
- Support small and local farmers – and make sure you’re paying a fair price
- Buy second hand, donate items, and upcycle items where you can