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Sustainable Business Concepts - Green Consumerism
Some examples of Green Consumerism
  • The Mexico-based Forest Stewardship Council has certified over 25 million hectares of commercial forest in 54 countries as meeting social and environmental standards for sustainable forestry, more than double the area in 1998.
  • Worldwide, buyers of energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) have eliminated the need for nearly 40 medium-sized, coal-fired power plants.
  • At the seafood counter, consumers can now find rock lobster, cockles, hoki, mackerel, herring, and salmon that carry the Marine Stewardship Council's logo as having been harvested under environmentally responsible management.
  • Thai consumers have used information from an appliance-labeling program to drive the market share of energy efficient, single-door refrigerators from 12 percent in 1996 to 96 percent in 1998.
  • In 21 European countries, beachgoers follow the ratings of the European Blue Flag campaign to find some 2,750 beaches and marinas with high environmental standards and sanitary and safe facilities.
  • Coffee drinkers in the US and Canada can ask for their coffee to be brewed from beans carrying the Bird Friendly seal of approval from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. This program certifies that the beans meet standards for shade farming and organic production.

    New Economy, Not Clean Economy

  • In 2001, about 520 million people used the Internet, which encompassed 147 million host computers, almost double the number in 1999. And the number of mobile telephone subscribers rose to almost 1 billion in 2001, nearly pulling even with the number of fixed-line connections.
  • A single semiconductor plant may use between 500 and 1,000 different chemicals, making the semiconductor industry one of the most chemically intensive ever known.
  • A computer monitor contains 1.8 to 3.6 kilograms of lead, a heavy metal that damages the nervous system and poisons blood cell development.
  • In some American businesses, one computer is used per user per year, fueling a growing waste crisis. And at least 315 million computers in the United States are predicted to become obsolete by 2004.
  • 300?500 million metric tons of hazardous waste were generated worldwide each year during the past decade, amounting roughly to 50-83 kilograms per person in 1999 alone.
  • Discarded cell phones are a growing contributor to electronic waste, as consumers seek the latest technology and manufacturers introduce disposable models.

    The Thirst For Sugar

  • The United States, with less than 5 percent of world population, is the largest carbonated soft drink consumer, accounting for one third of total soda consumption in 1999. China, with about 20 percent of world's population, is the fourth largest consumer of soda and is growing rapidly.
  • Soda consumption contributes to tooth decay, nutrient deficiencies, and caffeine dependence. A recent study showed a direct correlation between consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and childhood obesity.
  • In 2000, the two largest soft drink corporations, the Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo. spent $4.6 billion worldwide on advertising, a significant portion of which targeted children.

    Consuming Pesticides

  • In the United States, the share of harvests lost to pests has increased from 30 percent in the early 1940s to 37 percent in the 1990s - despite a 10-fold increase in pesticide use.
  • The US constitutes about 40 percent of the world market for household pesticides, with annual sales exceeding $1 billion. China is the second largest market with $580 million in sales.
  • The United Kingdom spends roughly $200 million each year to remove pesticides from drinking water, equal to one quarter of what British farmers spend on pesticides themselves each year.

    Efficient Energy

  • Energy efficiency labeling programs can be found in 43 countries around the globe, a sevenfold increase since 1980. If 20 percent of American consumers were influenced to purchase one of the most efficient refrigerators available, the electricity savings would eliminate the need for more than four large power plants.
  • Wind energy remains the world's fastest-growing energy source. Wind generating capacity reached 24,800 megawatts in 2001, up 37 percent from 18,100 megawatts in 2000.
  • Production of photovoltaic (solar) cells exceeded 390 megawatts in 2001, marking the fourth straight year of growth at or above 30 percent.

    Driving Farther

  • The European Automobile Manufacturers Association has offered a voluntary commitment to increase auto fuel efficiency standards to 41 miles per gallon (5.7 liters per 100 kilometers) by 2008. In Japan, regulations will likely bring about an improvement to about 35 miles per gallon (6.7 liters per 100 kilometers) for new models by 2010.
  • Currently, the combined fuel economy of new passenger cars and light trucks in the US stands at just 24.7 miles per gallon (9.5 liters per 100 kilometers), the second-worst figure in 20 years.
  • Car sharing is emerging rapidly in Europe, North America and Asia. Each shared car is estimated to eliminate four cars from the road.
  • A lane of light rail can move four to eight times more people per hour than a lane of highway.

    Boom and Bust

  • The largest generation of young people in human history (1.7 billion people aged 10-24) is now reaching reproductive age.
  • Half the population of Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Syria is under 25, while over 60 percent of Pakistan and Afghanistan's populations fall into that category.
  • Every day, 30,000 children under the age of 5 die of preventable causes.

    Hard Lessons

  • More than a quarter of all children in South Asia and 40 percent of all children in Africa did not have access to formal education in 1998.
  • Half of California's new schoolteachers in 2000 had either no credentials or were inadequately prepared for the subjects they taught.
  • Many highly qualified teachers from developing countries are being recruited to fill positions in US and European schools.

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    Green Consumerism

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