Without a doubt, if our economy is truly a free market, consumers control the market; trends determine the marketplace. Yet, sustainability is a difficult trend to establish. For most, the environment can be an afterthought. (1) 

Is it too much to ask for everyone to carry their own reusable utensils? Kudos to the environmentally focused and the pro-social values for carrying your reusable bags and utensils, yet realistically I have trouble believing these trends can affect an entire marketplace. Unfortunately, companies create hurdles consumers have to navigate in order to live a sustainably-minded life.

Thus, I wish to propose that the responsibility of our world’s sustainability is in the hands of small businesses. As seemingly the most adaptable in the marketplace, small businesses take direct inputs from the consumer and also create trends for larger corporations to analyze. So now, I speak to you small business owner.

Let’s make it easier for the consumer and remove the unsustainable hurdles. I love it when I go to a restaurant and they serve the meal in tin foil with absolutely no plastic. Not only do I feel better about the meal, but I also didn’t have to bring bamboo cutlery. I don’t really understand why we don’t just bring actual silverware since it’s way more effective — a rant for another time. 

Sustainable branding is everywhere, yet the transparency of social standards is up to you to uphold. Greenwashing is pervasive, shout-out to Chevron as it continues “its commitment to understanding and evaluating opportunities across a range of alternative and renewable energy sources”. Your branding should align with your actions. (2)

There are so many options to replaces plastic in your packaging, food service or supply chain. If options are limited, then let’s facilitate the demand for products that create the changes needed.

Our small businesses can set the standard for our marketplace. Powered by the people, let’s push the boundaries of thoughtful earth stewardship. 

1. Chevron Policy. Chevron Renewable Energy. 24 Oct. 2019

2. Essock, Cyd. The Consumer’s Role: Cyd Essock. 1 Mar. 1978.

 

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