I've been thinking lately about the many issues surrounding the adoption of sustainability. Why is it so hard for people and businesses to adjust? Doesn't everyone want the planet to remain healthy? Don't we want to keep our natural resources? Don't we want to keep our bodies healthy?
The answer is yes. Anyone in their right mind would.
I'm realizing that it simply comes down to trend and policy. The core of sustainability adoption goes really deep. It's more than just shopping from ethical brands and recycling. It's more than giving ethical businesses and influencers a nod. It's a combination of the ideas below, and many times based on trends, which are powerful when it comes to reaching wide audiences.
Currently, there is a major shift in beliefs and lifestyle within the black community, and I am ecstatic about it! In addition to that, we are continuing to aggressively address habits within our culture, and the way the media represents us, that are counter productive to evolving.
Exposure is a privilege. It's something that I've personally been reflecting on.
Money and Access
Simply put, "clean beauty" and "sustainable living" is not cheap. Though you CAN find ways to to so with little money, it still takes time, knowledge and understanding to realize that. Which is why I mentioned exposure before.
Societal Concerns and Norms
Sometimes you just aren't concerned with the worlds' issues because we have enough issues to deal with ourselves, and/or issues closer to home that we'd rather focus on, understandably. In terms of norms, sometimes it does indeed take trends in order for people to "go with it". Just like "wellness" is now undoubtedly an industry and trend, when before, it was just a movement among a very small percentage of our society.
Fear of False Marketing
Basically the fear that sustainability is just a marketing scheme (i.e. Greenwashing), trend and nothing more with no real significance. Though the content is well thought out and effective, social media has too often romanticized sustainable living, which, in my opinion, hinders the public to understand the immense amount of hard work companies and startups face just to create and or transform the business into a socially and environmentally responsible one.
Many would agree that there are operations throughout the world that should be shut down, health department style. But it's not that simple. For example, there are garment factories that are polluting rivers and violating child labor and human rights laws. But guess what, those same establishments are fueling some of the biggest brands we love and they will not risk losing money. Thankfully, environmental law and non-profit organizations are calling organization out on these issues.
Education, Technical Understanding and Values Around Sustainable Operations
Not everyone knows what an LCA (Life Cycle Analysis) or Supply Chain is, let alone how to approach and complete an analysis of one. There is a growing number of professionals focusing on these areas within the companies they work for and their own businesses. Titles like Chief Sustainability Officer, Global Supply Chain Manager and Head of Corporate Responsibility are beginning to emerge within organizations due to demand and the need for professional specialization in this area.
Systemic change in sustainability is a collective effort, and for our community, it's important for us to apply the knowledge we attain to our lives and communities in a way that works for us. The growing bond and realization of socioeconomic issues, like the circulation of the black dollar for example, are areas where the subject of sustainability is key because it targets what needs to be addressed directly.