You hear this term all the time. But what does it actually mean? What are sustainable items? It should not be a mystery.
Sustainable items come from systems that value people, planet, and profits equally. Today we talk about each of these areas and the questions we should be asking. Then we can base our decisions on how they will impact the world.
Sustainable also means that something can last long-term, beyond an immediate need or want. - Not only can you pick an apple, but the tree can keep growing.
- After paying the bills this week, a business can keep operating into next year.
- You get a good deal on a t-shirt, but the worker who made it also gets a good deal in wages.
When you make choices based on the long term, you are thinking about what is sustainable. You are asking good questions about what really matters.
Here are some questions you can ask. Fair warning: these are risky. They may change your life.
Sustainable Items Impact People
How does the production of this item affect the person or people who made it?
When you ask this question, you might start learning about labor and wage problems in the world. You may seek out Fair Trade labels on the items you buy.
You might also ask your favorite brands where they get their materials, and what the wages and working conditions are like.
When you buy products that are certified to ensure fair treatment of artisans, you impact people in sustainable, positive ways.
Sustainable Items Impact the Planet
How does the creation of this item affect the planet?
You might ask your favorite brands how they make choices that protect the environment. Are they concerned about rainforest animal habitats if they work in Central America? Do they know what is in the waste they release from factories into rivers or sky?
Personal choices are at play here too. How much fuel was used to ship your Amazon products because you made 3 separate orders instead of combining into one? Or because you shopped online instead of locally?
Another big one is plastic. Can you switch to reusable bags, and can you buy food with less packaging?
If you want to learn more on this issue, there are numerous studies about human choices and their impact on climate change, poverty, economics, and health.
When you buy products from companies that have fully considered and cared for the earth in their systems, you impact the planet in sustainable, positive ways.
Sustainable Items Impact Profits
Does this make sense for my financial life or business?
Ideally, all of these areas succeed together. Sustainable processes ensure equal care for people, planet, and profits.
When you choose to buy sustainable items, you may find that you can save money because of less packaging or shipping. Or you may find that you spend more money but decide that the value of making a positive contribution is worth it. This is something to watch for and learn from.
If you own a business, valuing sustainability means that you first consider impact on these three areas with every decision.
People, Planet, Profits
Sustainability is the hope and reality that it is possible for people, plant, and profits to ALL win. We don’t have to give up one area in order to succeed in another.
Fair Trade businesses value the long-term impacts on the artisans who make the items, the environment around the production, and the financial rewards for the makers, sellers, and buyers.Join our journey in living life fair! You can start by exploring our online Fair Trade store.