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Are We Ready for Responsible Consumerism?

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Are We Ready for Responsible Consumerism?

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In this article, Supriya Prakash Sen draws our attention to the ever-growing problem of mass consumerism and how dematerialization could help. 

This theme of today’s blog post is in the backdrop of a stunning rise in e-commerce globally – from books to electronics to food to fashion. Sounds great for consumers as well as for Mr. Bezos? Well, maybe- but this dramatic increase in shopping online will only lead to more plastic packaging, more electricity for warehouses, more fuel for delivery vehicles, and more computation energy for search, recommendation, and transaction processing. This is evolving into a crisis impacting every possible facet of modern life, from planet-scale (carbon dioxide emissions) to hyperlocal (tailpipe emissions at street level) – from this perspective, more e-commerce means more of everything bad.

On the one hand, the world needs growth; there is continuing burgeoning population with unmet needs; and a curb on consumption by fiat would not be possible, nor will it get political support. But could we perhaps evolve towards capitalism that is relies more on dematerialized (virtual) consumption, without either trashing the environment or putting screeching brakes on global growth? Looking at the stock market’s valuation of some of the world’s top brands- (see the below graphic from visualcapitalist.com) it appears clear that already, there is a distinct valuation difference between those brands that are promoting dematerialized products and services vis a vis those with physical products.

 

Key points include:

  • Responsible packaging and waste generation
  • Funding and market support
  • The digital business ecosystem

 

Read the full post, Dematerialized Consumerism, on LinkedIn.