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The Basics of Sustainable Consumption

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Sustainable consumption provides consumers the opportunity to consume goods and services that balance the needs of the consumers as well as reducing the negative impact to the economy, society, and the environment. The main goal of sustainable consumption is to improve the quality of life for current and future generations while decreasing the negative impacts.

Sustainable consumption is based on the principle of sustainable development. The main idea of sustainable consumption is meeting the needs of the current generation without depriving the ability of future generations in meeting their need for consumption.

It is crucial to note that “sustainable consumption” does not equate to “less consumption.” It means to consume in a more efficient and better-informed manner of consumption. This holds true for poor people as they have the need to increase their need to consume products and services.

Sustainable consumption has a direct correlation with other Sustainable Development Goals that include alleviation of poverty, economic growth, environmental protection, health, and education, all of which are aimed to improve the quality of life. Thus, sustainable consumption is not a strategy on how to consume less, but how to consume good and services in a smart way.

The Importance of Sustainable Consumption

Consumption is an important feature of the status of a society. When there is an improved economy, its citizens as well as governments, organizations, and companies, tend to increase their consumption of goods and services to meet their daily needs. These could be clothing, food, shelter, health services, and education. An increase in consumption boosts the growth of the economy, which is often a key indicator by governments in measuring success.

There are negative impacts related to consumption. Consumption can be a source of an environmental problem in addition to social and financial issues. An increase in consumption pressures the need to increase production. This increase in production leads to an increase in pollution, depletion of natural resource, and generation of waste. Even if solutions to an increase in production are addressed, this issue will not be resolved if the real concern is an increased consumption.

The present generation also faces social and financial problems due to an aggressive goal of increased consumption. Persons that have a high degree of consumption often face financial debt, the stress and time that is connected with high consumption, the time needed to store, upgrade, clean these possessions, and the manner on how consumption replaces quality time with people who are significant.

Sustainable consumption is the determining factor that permits individuals and societies in achieving development without the need to exchange quality of life or for a possibility of sustainable development.

The Need for Governments To Be Concerned With What Consumers Do

Governments send direct and indirect messages that they transmit every day. These signals include those in information and education, legislation, taxes and prices, health standards, and public consumption. It is the choice of governments whether they will consciously make it happen or they will just let it happen.

Governments often perceive themselves traditionally as the policy maker and legislator. They sometimes forget that they are major consumers themselves. In Asia, public consumption is equal to 20 to 30% of the national products and services.


Sustainable consumption is a global concern that must be prioritized. By taking the initiative and the right action plan, governments of different nations can slowly incorporate into the mindset and transform this mindset into proper action.

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