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EBOOK SUMMARY

 

The future of the planet, and its people, has the potential of being jeopardized by every choice made by each one of us, the consumers. Now, more than ever before, we need to focus on the effects of the products we consume and their impact on our own health, the environment, and all living beings.
Sustainable Life App (free on Apple & Android) is a research-based informational tool connecting sustainable brands and businesses across 10 industry sectors to eco-conscious consumers. We use a Google Maps-based interface to make sustainable living easy and convenient. Our app is based out of Canada but available for use globally.
As part of our educational outreach program, we have created a Sustainable Consumption Research Report and eBook, centralized around our 5 Factors for Sustainable Consumption™:

This report’s objective is to:

Help inform any eco-conscious consumer, brand, business, or any person who is interested in learning about the sustainability market.


Encourage the reader to be mindful of the impact of each consumption choice they make.


Inspire consumers to make their choices count for the better.


Every consumption choice that we make has an intricate, and often drastic, impact on our own health, the earth and ALL living beings.  It is only when consumers, eco-conscious brands and sustainable businesses make a commitment to work together that lasting change can be made possible.

Factor 1: Impact on Human Health

 

 

Background and History: The use of harmful chemicals in consumer products produces some unique issues due to the distribution reach of these products, the closeness with which humans come into contact with them, and possible co-exposure and recycling of harmful chemicals, among other factors.


Current Affairs: Although many countries have consumer product safety regulations and laws, consumer product manufacturers may still be able to use loopholes and not fully disclose the product constituents and their effects to consumers


Future Actions: It is crucial to eliminate harmful chemicals from products that consumers come into close contact with everyday, because contaminants found in these products have been known to lead to a virtually endless list of diseases and defects, such as cancer, reproductive defects, hormone irregularities, epigenetic modulation and diabetes.
 
Factor 2: Environmental Impact
 
 
Background and History: Typically, unsustainable consumer products can have massively detrimental effects on the environment throughout the supply chain - from environmental destruction during raw material mining and freshwater pollution during manufacturing, to greenhouse gas emissions during manufacturing and shipping.
 
Current Affairs: The list of potential negative effects of unsustainable consumption is seemingly endless, from micro- and macro-plastic pollution of aquatic bodies to undisclosed fragrance components that cause ozone depletion, and biocides used in agriculture, which can lead to microorganism resistance and the prevalence of severe diseases among humans.

Future Actions: Although legal environmental protection is becoming more and more prevalent on both national and international scales, these regulations are often constrained by politics. It therefore falls to consumers to use their consumption power to demand sustainability and skew the industry towards an environmentally-friendly framework.
 
Factor 3: Respect for Human Rights
 
 

Background and History: Consumer products are historically wrought with human rights issues, the most well-known of which are child labour, slavery, child trafficking for labour, poor workplace conditions, underpaying of labour that is outsourced to developing countries, and unethical treatment of workers. The United Nations Environmental Programme Finance Initiative states that the general manufacturing industry is facing crucial human rights issues.


Current Affairs: The 2017 Global Estimates of Child Labour report by the International Labour Organization concluded that in 2016, 152 Million children were subjected to child labour every single day, of which, at least 73 Million were reported to be involved in hazardous work. Given the exponential rate of population growth, the economic crisis cause by the COVID-19  pandemic, and the lack of large-scale coordinated efforts to eliminate child labour since 2016, it is quite likely that these numbers are even higher in 2020 and 2021.


Future Actions: The biggest way of bringing demonstrable change to this industry is by changing the face of consumer demand. Consumers need to understand the effect of their choices on individuals like children, underpaid workers, and slaves in distant parts of the world. Due to efforts around the globe, child labour statistics have shown improvement over the years, but these numbers are still exceptionally high and there is a lot of work to be done to make industry truly sustainable.

 

Factor 4: Respect for Animal Rights
 
 

Background and History: Animals have been used to test the safety and efficacy of drugs and consumer products going back millennia. Throughout this time, there have been instances which proved the need for product and drug testing, and the most effective way of doing this without directly testing on humans, was to test animals.


Current Affairs: Many national and international laws require demonstration of product safety. With technological advancements, however, it is now possible to perform product testing on human tissue cultures grown in the lab in a more humane and accurate way than testing on animals. Many regions, driven by petitions from animal right supporters, have taken steps to dislodge the prevalence of animal testing in the industry. However, there is still much progress to be made around the globe in order to achieve a sustainable society.


Future Actions: A global positive change can ripple out of small steps taken in the right direction. When major consumption markets ban retail of consumer products tested on animals - while maintaining safety standards - other markets will follow. Manufacturers wanting to sell in these markets may also opt not to test on animals in general in order to unify their mode of production, therefore radiating a positive ripple effect of change.

 

Factor 5: Socio-Economic Advantage
 
 

Background and History: Socio-Economic Advantage, for the consumer, means consuming while keeping in mind one’s own values and core beliefs based on their distinct blueprint of how they view the world, along with being mindful of the causes and effects of their own product demand on the world. From the perspective of brands and businesses Socio-Economic Advantage could be defined here as their worldview, given the company’s core values and beliefs.


Current Affairs: Every choice made by consumers has a sizeable socio-economic impact on the planet, which may go largely unseen by the consumers themselves. This encompasses the socio-economic treatment by consumer product manufacturers all along the supply chain in various parts of the world.


Future Actions: It has become clear that the current consumer product industry is not set up to promote a Socio-Economic Advantage to all of the planet's constituents equally. Harmful industry practices are pushing the world into a state that is completely unsustainable. It is now more important than ever, for each one of us to consume consciously - from the perspective of a global citizen.

 

The Greenwashing Problem
 
 
Human beings around the world are becoming more and more aware of the impact that their choices have all around the globe. As a result, more and more consumers are opting to make eco-conscious decisions. As the demand for sustainable consumer products arises, businesses and brands are finding it in their best interest to incorporate and showcase sustainable practices in their domains.
The problem arises, however, when economically driven corporations, combined with loopholes in environmental laws and corporate policies, allow brands and businesses to pose themselves as being sustainable and green through vague or false claims, treating their customers unfairly while keeping true eco-conscious firms at a competitive disadvantage.
 
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic
 
 
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an extreme effect on the consumer products industry. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is predicting the worst economic crisis since The 1930s' Great Depression. Poverty and unemployment levels are rising around the globe and as a result, massive economic losses are being reported. World trade is also plunging and this financial crisIs has made it hard for global development to flourish.
In these times, global partnerships to achieve global sustainable development are more important than ever, so that the world can overcome the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In its official 2020 update, the UN perfectly states: "Strengthening multilateralism and global partnerships is more important than ever before. The global nature of the pandemic requires the participation of all governments, the private sector, civil society organizations and people throughout the world."
 
Sustainable Life App Definitions:
 

A sustainable brand is a company that manufactures products with transparency, keeping in line with Sustainable Life App's 5 Factors for Sustainable Consumption™.


A sustainable business is a brick-and-mortar style establishment that transparently sells services or products manufactured by sustainable brands in a manner that aligns around Sustainable Life App's 5 Factors for Sustainable Consumption™.


An eco-conscious consumer is a person whose consumption choices keep in line with an eco-conscious mindset as it relates to Sustainable Life App's 5 Factors for Sustainable Consumption™.


A non-judgemental community: Every consumer has their own unique values, upbringing and personal blueprint through which they view this world. We ask everyone in our community to be open-minded towards each other and respect every business, brand and consumer using our app. We want to encourage love and kindness because it is our belief that every step towards a more sustainable lifestyle = a positive global ripple effect.

 

We are a non-judgemental platform which aims to promote transparency in the industry and advocate for a future where sustainable consumption is the new norm.