Addressing the Climate Change Crisis – One Purchase at a Time

Time is quickly running out to address the threat of climate change, but things are moving into the right direction. Under the umbrella of the Paris Agreement, world leaders are once again making important steps into the right direction.

Coherent action at the highest level and collaboration between the main actors of the private and public sector is needed to mitigate the negative effects of global warming. At the same time, individuals can do their part and contribute to the well-being of the planet. One of the things that can be done is to adjust the purchasing habits to help reduce emissions.

The Private Sector Pulls its Weight

Consumers can also contribute to a world with fewer emissions and even help with slowing climate change. There is an indissoluble link between the behavior of individuals and their impact on the environment. Polluting industries are frequently in the crosshair for their significant and detrimental impact, but consumers have a role to play. Directly or indirectly, they are responsible for more than 60% of all the emissions, which is a massive percentage that needs to be driven down.

High income households are responsible for most of the carbon footprint, up to 10 times more than low income once. Consumers who can afford to spend lavishly are the ones who have the most significant impact. The good news is that with the right approach, these people can continue to enjoy the lifestyle they love and deserve, while reducing emissions. The urgency of the climate change crisis everyone needs to contribute and even the smallest actions can have a positive impact in the long run.

Households Must Take Responsibility

The grand objectives set by the Paris Agreement give hope that the climate change crisis can still be managed. Nearly 200 countries have joined the fray and actions are already carried out to make a positive impact. Meanwhile, the private sector is doing its part, sometimes away from the spotlight. Companies have adjusted their business patterns to be more eco-friendly and reduce emissions voluntarily. The Covid 19 crisis had a positive side effect, in the form of reduced emissions, but that was a temporary reprise.

In partnerships with government officials and local authorities, companies can transition to a low carbon economy. The upside of making the switch is that businesses become climate resilient and this will give them a competitive advantage on long-term. Direct involvement of citizens is essential in the success of this joint effort. Raising awareness about the efforts made by modern companies, as they transition to a green business model will encourage consumers to follow their lead and adjust their own patterns.

Consumer’s Playbook for Meaningful Change

The first thing consumers need to do in order to reduce direct and indirect emissions is to undertake an honest evaluation. Carbon footprint calculators are available for free and they can help evaluate the individual impact on the environment. Starting from this numbers, it is possible to drive down the CO2 emissions caused by reckless spending. Forward thinking companies provide a lot of information about the carbon footprint of their products. This is an effective effort to improve transparency and accuracy, while coming up with industry measurements that leads to a better informed public.

Once consumers become aware of their carbon footprint and understand the importance of driving it down, they can start making better choices. Contrary to popular belief, there is no binary choice in which you have to choose the environment or personal comfort. Similar products can have a different carbon footprint and choosing the greener one doesn’t diminish the satisfaction. One thing that consumers willing to make a change should be aware of is that they will be charged slightly more. A low emission product will be more expensive, but also of higher quality, so they end up paying more for a better product.

Last but definitely not least, consumers who have adjusted their purchasing habits to reduce carbon emissions should help increase awareness. There’s no better way to convince others than by leading by example and sharing personal purchasing patterns can make a significant impact.