Green consumer products: Good? Or just less bad? | The Socially Conscious Consumer

How can we create products that provide a net good for the planet and for its inhabitants? I often focus on this question because it’s a key challenge facing business leaders and consumers who seek to promote sustainable lifestyles through the purchase and use of consumer products.

Unfortunately, while we have made incremental steps by creating products that are “less bad,” we haven’t even scratched the surface of what we really need: products that are “good.” “Less bad” initiatives, such as smaller caps on water bottles, are small steps in the right direction. Yet they only slow the rate of environmental destruction. In other words, they buy us a few more seconds before we crash into the wall, when what we need to do is turn the car around.

Definitions of a “good” product can vary, but this is mine: from a holistic, systems-based perspective, the product produces a positive and regenerative effect on our ecosystem from start to finish, encompassing the entire supply chain and including the impact consumers have when they use and dispose of the product. Instead of degrading resources and leaving the world worse off, a good product contributes toward restoring the planet and creating a more habitable environment for future generations.

Read this entire post from Jeffrey Hollender at McKinsey’s The Socially Conscious Consumer.

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