Sustainable consumption is the efficient, conscious and responsible consumption of natural resources, goods and services at all levels of human organization e.g. households, local communities, national governments, in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. Main goal of the sustainable consumption is to meet human needs and improve life quality for everybody at the local and global level, in accordance with human rights, taking into account needs of the future generations and preservation of natural resources. Sustainable consumption aims to increase reduction of waste and pollution and production of goods and services which meet ethical, social and environmental criteria. Sustainable development is a stable development which uses resources only in necessary amounts and goes into harmless directions of technological progress to meet human needs and aspirations in the future.
Sustainable consumptions goals
- reduction of negative effects on ecology, proper use and utilization of goods and services,
- providing everyone with the opportunity to meet basic needs, such as food, water, health care, education and shelter,
- supporting economically developing countries,
- development and popularization of eco-friendly, healthy food and consumer goods,
- development and popularization of water and energy saving devices,
- development and popularization of pro-ecological transportation,
- development of global environment protection requirements and goods which meet them;
- promoting healthy lifestyle, local traditions and tolerance.
In order to achieve sustainable development and improve life quality, governments should limit production patterns that get in the way of the development.
The UN Program of Action targets for achieving sustainable consumption [according to the Report on Human Development, 1998]:
- Providing everyone with the opportunity to meet minimum consumer needs.
- Developing eco-efficient goods and services.
- Eliminating "subversive" subsidies and changing the incentive system.
- Strengthening the activities of the society in consumer protection.
- Strengthening international mechanisms aimed at limiting the global effects of consumption.
- Creating strong alliances between consumer movements, movements fighting poverty and environmental movements.
- Contributing to synergies between the activities of civil society, the private sector and authorities.
In practice sustainable consumption, at the local level, includes:
- in economic terms: reasonable financial return, fair wages and work in safe conditions,
- the social dimension: participation in public decision-making, work for the local community and equal treatment of women and minorities,
- ecological dimension: the ability to affect the purity of air, water and land, the protection of plants and animals and the health of the local community.
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