Date
25 May 2017
Most consumers know waste recycling, but many are not willing to sort out their garbage because it’s "inconvenient” to do so. Photo: CNSA
Most consumers know waste recycling, but many are not willing to sort out their garbage because it’s "inconvenient” to do so. Photo: CNSA

Consumers are crucial to protect the environment

The Consumer Council has released a study on sustainable consumption.

Most of the respondents in the survey have high recognition of sustainable consumption. However, there’s a big gap between recognition and behavior.

Although the respondents said they agree with the concept of sustainable consumption, most of them are willing to put it into practice only if it doesn’t involve extra effort or costs.

For example, most respondents understand the concept of waste recycling, but many are not willing to sort out their garbage because it’s “inconvenient” to do so.

When we talk about environmental protection and sustainable development, we often think of enterprises and producers. We believe they should bear the biggest responsibility.

That’s true, but the role of consumers is also crucial.

France dumps nearly 7.1 million tons of food every year. Of this amount, 67 percent comes from consumers, 15 percent comes from restaurants while shops contribute 11 percent.

If consumers turn their support for sustainable consumption into practice, we can substantially reduce waste.

Hong Kong has been promoting waste treatment programs for years, but the programs or regulatory rules are hardly about consumers.

Education for the consumers about “responsible consumption” is an indispensable chain.

The government and business owners may consider providing more economic benefits to encourage consumers to prefer reusable products, sort their waste, and practice responsible consumption.

To promote sustainable development, the government, enterprises, consumers and other stakeholders should all get involved.

The renowned fashion designer Vivienne Westwood once said: “Buy less, choose well, make it last.”

Buy smart, consumers.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Mar. 8.

Translation by Myssie You

[Chinese version 中文版]

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