Over the past decades the use and abuse of resources have led society to a crisis for the deterioration of environmental conditions and degradation in human and animal life. Environmental pollution, climate change, the depletion of natural resources, the enormous waste produced and even the effects on the health of the human being, have provoked urgent reflections and calls at global level to reverse this trend.
To understand the term sustainable consumption, it is necessary to consider three aspects: the use of goods and services that serve basic needs; at the same time, contribute to a better quality of life; and, finally, minimise the use of natural resources, toxic materials, the emission of waste and pollution so as not to harm future generations.
The challenge for companies to create quality, different, innovative, cost-effective and value-added products for the consumer is even higher now that they also have to consider the negative effect that this creation can generate during its entire life cycle.
Two trends have been popularised mainly in developed countries:
1. Living better by consuming less: the strategy of some men to differentiate themselves from their peers using exclusive brands and products; the cliche of women who go shopping as a social activity and not because they really need what they are going to buy; and, finally, the fact of acquiring a product just because it is innovative without first analysing its true usefulness and durability, are ceasing to be cool.
In order to reduce consumption, without this being seen as a sacrifice, but as a new way of life, it is necessary to begin by controlling the desire. At the same time, this approach gives priority to a product of quality instead of novelty (purchase of several products that respond to the same need with small differences).
A great challenge brands are facing is the tendency to see the exclusive and excessively expensive as something negative. In fact, some people reject companies and consumers that promote products that have a high price not only for the buyer, but also for society and the environment.
2. Local consumption: the most common area for this trend is the food industry. But, why eat local? Some claim that they practice this measure because it is healthier and food is fresher, for others it generates a sense of belonging, in some cases, they suggest that in this way they support local producers and improve the regional economy.
In fact, all those reasons are correct. Sociologists who have studied the buying behaviour in the United States have concluded that there are 10 times more conversations among buyers in local markets compared to those happening in supermarkets. These exchanges are very frequent between the producers and the consumer, who are not only interested in the quality and image of the product but also in everything behind the production chain.
Consuming local foods can also help strengthen the identity of the community because it specialises in what is produced within that geographic space and may vary by season.
It is also true that in the case of local production, a few kilometres from these markets, the time and logistics of the transport of merchandise are minimised, thus fulfilling the promise of offering fresh food every day.
Finally, the eating local trend works as a lever for small producers, the generation of local jobs, and the self-sustainability of a community.