Sustainable Development: The Concept Of Sustainable Consumption In The Environment

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Sustainable development was defined in 1987 by the United Nations’ World Commission on Environment and Development – the Brundtland Commission – as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” [1]

The concept of “sustainable consumption” was first introduced into environmental policy debates by the AGENDA 21 document accepted at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. Chapter 4 of the document (“Changing Consumption Patterns”) considers changing established consumer patterns and structures to be a fundamental precondition for moving towards sustainable development. [2]

According to UNEP (United
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Consumption in the economy includes private (individual, domestic), collective (institutional, state), and producer consumption (i.e. material and energy consumption needed for creating a product). Although in many respects, consumption is driven by private consumption, it is an erroneous to simplify sustainable consumption to private consumption and to only stress the responsibility of the individual and the household. Consumers can only choose environmentally friendly customer and consumer alternatives if offered the appropriate product selection. Producing environment friendly products for consumers to consume is the responsibility of the businesses and government needs to ensure and incentivize businesses to do.

Many businesses believe that the idea of sustainable consumption is controversial for its implications of less consumption. Consuming less will surely lower environmental impact; less consumption could also imply less economic activity, which would deliver less growth, lower incomes and fewer jobs. However, this misleading view of sustainable consumption needs to
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Our planet’s regenerative capacity is being greatly exceeded as the world’s population is now producing and consuming more resources than ever. In fact, in developed and developing countries, people are acquiring much more than what they actually need and therefore producing an enormous amount of waste.
Our growing population puts so much pressure on the environment that nowadays the natural resources are no longer as abundant as they used to be. How we use and dispose of non-renewable resources is radically altering our ecosystems and even the planet’s renewable resources are rapidly being exhausted. We have now reached a tipping point where the quality of air and water needs to be improved, the level of production needs to be balanced and the amount of waste generated needs to be
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