sustainable consumption

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The skyline of Sweden's third-largest city, Malmö - where retailers are finding ‘purpose’ and economic growth, beyond shopping and consumption

The best retailers for the world: Driving responsible retail and one-planet prosperity

Low-carbon, resource-efficient retail is the only way forward, but we might also need to dig deeper if we are to find one-planet prosperity. Ahead of Wednesday's Responsible Retail Conference, Mike Townsend explores the real challenges and opportunities - along with evidence of an innovative shift - taking place in Sweden.

The real heroes of the resource revolution are the people and businesses that are ready to address the real challenges and make real shifts

Coming of age: The heroes and villains of the circular economy

The circular economy is growing up; moving beyond simple radical resource efficiency, towards an authentic triple-bottom-line. As with any transition, not everything is great. Business model innovation is the battleground for success - and while there are heroes, there are also villains holding back the real transformation that is needed.

Many businesses are currently nowhere near even appreciating our planetary boundaries, let alone managing within them

Getting over peak delusion: Four strategies for sustainable prosperity within planetary boundaries

Our aspirations for sustainable growth and prosperity have little chance of being realised, if we don't manage within all our planetary boundaries. Mike Townsend explores how we need to get over our delusions, and find a new course for business success.

Balancing revenues and costs in the short and long term are constant challenges and often there are no easy answers

Developing for resilience: Four key practices

What are the practices and processes that allow leaders and organisations to develop businesses, products, services and an economy that will respect the living world and will be resilient into the future?

The upcoming package will reportedly look beyond waste policy and address the full product lifecycle, taking into account the situation in all Member States

EU asks for public advice on circular economy

The European Commissions has launched a 12-week public consultation to help inform its upcoming circular economy action plan, to be presented by the end of 2015.

The retailer has agreed to ban dangerous pollutants by the end of June 2016

Aldi commits to hazardous chemical detox

Leading discount retailer Aldi has signed up to Greenpeace's Detox campaign, committing to the zero discharge of hazardous chemicals from the lifecycle and production of all its textile and footwear goods by 2020.

Walmart's new online tool allows customers to factor in sustainability when purchasing products from its website

Walmart launches virtual sustainability shop

American retailer Walmart has opened up an online tool that allows customers to factor in sustainability credentials when purchasing products from its website.

Sustainable business strategies will help advance a post-2015 development agenda, the White Paper finds.

WEF blueprint defines the corporate sustainability spectrum

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released a White Paper on business sustainability to deepen understanding of its breadth and potential impacts.

BT is looking into the development of standards for using data for social good purposes. Pic: BT

VIDEO: BT crowdsources ideas on how to frame big data 'for social good'

BT is actively exploring how digital technology can fast-track efforts to progress sustainable consumption through more effective curation of big data.

M&S launched Plan A in 2007 with 100 commitments to reduce the company's social and environmental footprint

Mike Barry: Sustainable product co-creation with consumers may 'drive future'

Marks & Spencer's head of sustainable business Mike Barry has said that consumer involvement in future product development may become necessary in order to bring brand sustainability to life.

Polman said that there was tendency for marketers to be blinkered by consumption-based business models

Unilever calls for business 'mindfulness' on consumption

Unilever CEO Paul Polman has questioned whether businesses are in denial over the growing trend for mindful consumption, as he called for companies to widen their understanding on the issue.

Sharing economy: 70% of 10,574 people surveyed across the globe believe that overconsumption is putting both planet and society at risk

Consumers seeking 'brand endorsement' of sharing economy

A global shift in consumption patterns is fuelling demand for economic models that focus on community and collaboration rather than accumulation and ownership, new research suggests.

Earthshine's Michael Townsend says businesses need to prepare to take on the 'de-growth' challenge

Growth - the real elephant in the room?

EXCLUSIVE Is the pursuit of continuous growth the single biggest issue for our businesses and our economies? Will the circular economy provide the silver bullet, or do we need to go further? Michael Townsend investigates.

The sustainable tuna is sourced from the Maldives using a low-impact pole and line technique

Sainsbury's sells UK's first sustainable tuna sandwich

Sainsbury's has become the first UK retailer to launch a certified sustainable tuna sandwich as part of the supermarket giant's on-going efforts to deliver more sustainable seafood.

Trewin Restorick: set for new challenges

Global Action Plan founder steps down to embark on fresh challenge

Trewin Restorick is stepping down from his role of running Global Action Plan, the environmental behaviour change charity, to pursue a new venture.

Sustainable consumption 'stumbling in dark' without policy intervention

Efforts to tackle sustainable consumption may be failing due to too much focus on changing individual behaviour, rather than concentrating on the importance of systems change.

Report: Intensive meat production devouring land and raw materials

The current industrialised meat and dairy production system is "untenable" and needs a radical rethink to reduce its impact on the environment, according to a new report.

Yvon Chouinard is at pains to highlight the dangers of over-consumption

Patagonia launches 'survival mission' in bid to remodel consumerism

Patagonia is set to explore whether it can survive in a "responsible economy" whereby mass consumption is drastically reduced as society begins to operate within tighter resource limits.

Tesco gets 37,000 customers promising to recycle more

Tesco has hailed its online customer recycling pledge scheme set up in June with Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) as a success, announcing that the initiative has attracted 37,000 pledges so far.

Santa's 'shocking' carbon footprint dampens Christmas spirit

Concerns have been raised by the scientific community over Santa's emissions in the lead up to Christmas.

Plugging the future food gap relies heavily on slashing waste

Tackling food waste successfully will be critical to meet the world's growing food needs as new research proposes that the planet will need 70% more food to feed a global population of 9.6 billion in 2050.

Sarah Ellis: closer engagement is rewarding

Sainsbury's CSR chief applauds rising culture of 'challenge'

Sainsbury's head of corporate responsibility & society Sarah Ellis has said that taking an open-source approach to sustainability is helping to challenge the company go beyond its 20x20 targets.

Zipcar examines how the sharing economy is stacking up

Brits could pocket £12.4bn in savings by embracing a 'pay-as-you-live' economy and shunning traditional ownership of good and services.

ANALYSIS: Circular and sharing, when two become one?

If there is one thing the sustainability movement appears to want ownership of, it is the word 'economy'. A circular version has been doing the rounds for some time, but it could be under threat from a new kid on the block, equally as caring, but perhaps, well, more sharing.

Unilever targets parents as 'unlockers' of behaviour change

Unilever is following up its Sustainable Living Plan with the launch of Project Sunlight, an initiative to motivate millions of people to adopt more sustainable lifestyles.

'Lease a fleece' business model looks to become latest fashion

A circular economy clothing concept whereby consumers hire items to wear instead of buying them has been launched, and is currently seeking investment.

Cartons rated as 'most sustainable' packaging by consumers

Consumers are demanding more renewable materials and environmental labelling on the products they buy, with many rating cartons as the most eco-friendly packaging type.

AkzoNobel receives top ranking for sustainability in materials sector

AkzoNobel has been ranked the number one position on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) in the newly named Materials industry group, previously the Chemicals sector.

ANALYSIS: How will profit margins fare in a sharing economy?

The rise of the sharing economy presents a double-edged sword to businesses. The very nature of it turns consumers into service providers, creating a disruptive force to traditional markets. But it also works by sweating idle assets, many of which are owned by the companies that are being disrupted.

BT's Kevin Moss upbeat on taking Net Positive forward

BT reveals strong desire to be Net Positive frontrunner

BT's head of Net Good Kevin Moss has said his company has received "overwhelming support" for its Net Positive agenda and will now look to take the lead on forging the types of collaboration needed to build on this momentum.

Brands look for greater ownership stake in sharing economy

Brand leaders are increasingly looking to turn the growing trend for collaborative consumption into a business proposition by forming strategic alliances with smaller, start-ups.

Unilever CSO: We want 'active role' in shaping future green policies

Unilever's chief sustainability officer Gail Klintworth has argued that big corporations should play an active role in helping to shape new environmental legislation.

Food retailers must consider sustainable 'brand power' of British

Creating a brand concept around the sustainability of British farming and food could help drive better environmental practice across supply chains for food producers and retailers.

EXCLUSIVE: Mainstream business must 'deepen' sustainability thinking

To protect the planet from environmental devastation it is vital that there is an "embedding and deepening" of sustainability thinking into mainstream businesses, says HW Fisher's Jae Mather.

The future looks bright - as long as it's circular

Changing society from a 'buy and bin' to a 'rent and return' culture may take a generation to achieve, but the pain in getting there will be worth the effort, says Angus Middleton

Philips explores feasibility of 'selling light' as service-based model

Philips is looking to commercialise selling the concept of light as a service rather than a product as a part of a new circular economy business model.

BT looks to 'shift mindsets' to scale up sustainable consumption

Companies not only need to rethink their own business models but redefine consumer models too if they are to meaningfully contribute towards a more sustainable future.

Reuse must overtake ownership for 'true' sustainable consumption

Materials need to be moved up the waste hierarchy to encourage greater reuse and there needs to be a shift towards leasing products to make consumption more sustainable.

Credit: Portokalis /

Debate rages on as to why waste is such a dirty word

Waste and resource management professionals still have much to do if they are to move waste up the hierarchy and achieve community buy-in, according to industry experts.

Cradle-to-cradle movement gathers pace in UK

A new cradle-to-cradle (C2C) collaboration in the UK could make it easier for companies to derive value from their sustainability strategies.

Levi's shows real bottle in 'waste less' designer denim drive

Levi's has unveiled its latest innovation in sustainable design with the launch of jeans made from recycled plastic bottles and food trays.

Brits show growing appetite for sharing economy

The sharing economy - in which goods and services are based on collaborative consumption - is now valued at £330bn globally and £22.4bn in the UK, according to new research.

Sustainability must go mainstream: Interview with Peter Bakker

Business cannot succeed in a society that fails - that is the personal mantra of Peter Bakker, president of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. He takes time out to tell Zeljka Davis why

Tony Juniper:

Tony Juniper: Sustainability must learn how to tap into humanity

The sustainability debate needs to realign itself with social values if challenges around behaviour change are to be overcome, leading environmentalist Tony Juniper has said.

Europe prepares to test industry standard for product sustainability

Companies wanting to highlight the environmental performance of their products could receive a welcome boost as a European standard for product lifecycle analysis (LCA) moves a step closer.

Sustainability big 'turn on' for employees but corporate desire is lacking

Business has a clear role to play in encouraging staff to adopt more sustainable lifestyles as office-based green actions are shown to be highly influential on a wider level.

Next phase for teabag recovery brewing at Unilever

Unilever is seeking to scale up its local authority food waste pilots in a bid to reduce the post-consumer impacts of its products.

World pays homage to water as experts warn of looming scarcity crisis

As the competitive tension between business and nations grow, and the population continues to rise, the perception of water as an unlimited resource will become out of date, say experts at the University of Leicester.

Strengthened UNEP to meet for landmark conference

Hundreds of environment ministers, decision makers, scientists, civil society representatives and business leaders will gather at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters in an attempt to galvanize a new era of stronger action on pressing environmental issues.

Which? maps out sustainable consumption blueprints for 2030

Waterless washing machines, rechargeable kids and handheld molecule scanners might be commonplace in a future world built on resource scarcity, collaborative consumption and immersive technology.

L'Oréal's biggest challenge is making 'sustainability desirable'

L'Oréal's biggest challenge is getting consumers to come on board with sustainability, according to the cosmetics and beauty company's director of corporate social responsibility and sustainability Alexandra Palt.

Amanda Flynn, one of the participants in the challenge

Unilever challenges consumer behaviour on water use

Unilever is embarking on the next phase of its consumer-facing behavioural change programme to encourage families to lead more sustainable lifestyles.

Food sector hasn't got the stomach yet for true sustainability

There needs to be a step-change in how food companies choice edit their product portfolios if they are to successfully drive sustainable consumption.

Circular economy not 'silver bullet' for resource crunch

Industrial systems based on circular economy models will be constrained by end-of-life material availability, limiting future improvements in process efficiency, scientists claim.

Business trusted more than government on climate change

A growing number of consumers are putting their faith in businesses to tackle climate change, believing them to be better managed and more accountable than government on the issue.

Why isn't sustainable consumption getting more airtime?

There is significant opportunity for TV to help drive forward one vital issue on the sustainability agenda - that of food waste. Dean Pearce explains why

Starbucks rolls out reusable cups in sustainable consumption drive

Starbucks is introducing reusable plastic cups throughout its cafes in the US and Canada in a bid to cut down on post-consumer packaging waste.

Food waste holds key to solving supply chain challenges

A growing body of evidence suggests tackling food waste could help resolve many of the sustainability challenges faced by the food industry.

Consumers shift consumption priorities onto water and waste

Water and waste concerns must sit higher on the corporate agenda as research reveals consumers are starting to attach as much importance to these issues as working conditions and fair wages.

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