There are some simple things that I believe we can do, and are doing, but at first glance it seems as if this shift in mindset doesn't come without some cost - whether time, energy or money.
Some of the solutions should have long term benefits, but what are the short term costs?
These are the questions I'm asking us as a business, and should probably be asking my suppliers as well:
- Are we using sustainable resources?
- Are we being efficient with our resources?
- Is there any way of recycling materials (waste or other)?
- Are our staff being paid a fair wage that can sustain them and their family?
Broadly speaking, sustainability is defined as :
"Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs."But I think we are all guilty at some point of looking for the shortcut, or the lower price, without asking some difficult questions.
For example, do I know whether my suppliers are paying a decent wage to their staff?
When I am buying materials, what guarantees do I have that they've been sourced from a sustainable supply?
Simply put, are people or the environment getting ripped off for my benefit?
Some simple things everyone can do to lessen their impact:
- Visit Ecofoot.org and do the quiz. Also check out Breathing Earth
- Recycle glass, paper etc. as much as possible. Glass is one of the few things that can be re-re-recycled.
- Replace normal light bulbs with Fluorescent - the use a fraction of the electricity, and last much longer.
- Support local businesses, farmers, trades-people and products
- Buy organic foods
- Walk, or cycle where possible
- Buy re-cycled products
- Turn off lights and appliances when you're not using them
- Try to avoid products with excessive packaging
- My favourite - Plant a tree (Preferably indigenous!)