Environmental degradation is a significant issue caused by human activities like overconsumption[i], industrialization and deforestation[ii], leading to unsustainable economic growth. The negative consequences of environmental deterioration are widespread and include pollution, biodiversity loss, animal extinction, deforestation and desertification, global warming, and numerous additional issues [iii], and it is crucial to manage the ecosystem properly to prevent further damage. Environmental degradation is primarily caused by producing and using environmentally harmful goods and materials. The increasing use of plastic is one such illustration of how pollution in the environment is increasing.[iv] However, are we aware that the various goods we use on the market are safe and do not harm the environment? Interestingly, environmentally friendly products are excellent substitutes over damaging and harsh items.
Promoting the use of eco-friendly and sustainable products contributes to reducing the effects of environmental degradation. They are created with eco-friendly, natural materials that are typically biodegradable, recyclable, or reusable. We can lessen our environmental impact and help to protect the natural environment by making eco-friendly product choices. Therefore, adopting eco-friendly products as the new norm is essential to ensuring sustainable growth and protecting the environment for future generations.
Numerous international agreements, policies, and initiatives have been implemented to address these challenges to minimize adverse environmental effects and promote sustainable development. Governments (enact policies), businesses (incorporate sustainable practices into their operations and offer eco-friendly products to consumers), and individuals (choose to support environmentally friendly products and minimize our environmental impact ) all have a role in promoting eco-friendly products and practices.
A growing number of environmentally friendly products are available on the market to help individuals reduce their environmental impact and live more sustainably. These products are designed to minimize adverse environmental impacts and promote a more sustainable way of life. Right from healthy kitchenware and containers to garden necessities like biodegradable pots. Similarly, organic home care products free of chemicals (floor cleansers to mosquito repellents) and natural home decor items are made with eco-friendly materials. Now bamboo products popularised (toothbrushes, fabrics, cutlery, bio-plastics) and fabric made of jute and many other items, including herbal wellness products, are such examples, and the Twelfth Sustainable Development Goals objective calls for “responsible consumption and production patterns” by 2030. Green products (GPs) typically exhibit qualities like being energy efficient, reusable, low emitting, healthy products, and so forth[v]. As a result, many consumers are now passionate about the business of tagging green by using environmentally friendly products[vi]. In addition, customers concerned about their health have increased their desire for environmentally friendly products in recent years because they do not cause harm to consumers[vii]. On a more encouraging note, many businesses are currently launching campaigns to inform customers about the benefits of green marketing[viii].
On the contrary, the consumers of various daily necessities products have diverse preferences for the specific product type. A person may prefer the prices and the quality of products or find environmental organizations’ certification more amusing than packaging. We must find an ideal win-win scenario where businesses, consumers and the environment benefit.
Businesses can play a critical role in promoting sustainability and environmental protection. In order to produce environmentally sustainable products, businesses need to shift operating procedures and mindsets towards more sustainable and eco-friendly practices. For producing sustainable products that appeal to consumers, businesses must understand consumer preferences for eco-friendly products that, require conducting market research to gain insights into consumer behaviour, attitudes, and values towards sustainability. By understanding consumer preferences, businesses must develop eco-friendly products that meet consumer demand and provide a competitive advantage.
In conclusion, businesses must incorporate environmentally sustainable practices into their operations. Products need to reduce environmental impact and meet consumer demand for eco-friendly products. By understanding consumer preferences and promoting sustainable practices, businesses can thrive while contributing to preserving the environment and creating a more sustainable future.
Pema Choden Bhutia is a Doctoral Candidate, at Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai.
[ii] Maurya, P., et al. An introduction to environmental degradation: Causes, consequence and mitigation. 10.26832/aesa-2020-edcrs-01 (2020).
[iii] Brown, B.J., et al. Global sustainability: toward definition. Environmental Management. 11(6): 713-719 (1987).
Tian, Q., et al. Research progress in butachlor degradation in the environment. Pesticides-Shenyang. 43(5): 205-208 (2004).
[iv] Taofeeq, D., et al. Sustainability of biodegradable plastics: New problem or solution to solve the global plastic pollution?. Current Research in Green and Sustainable Chemistry. doi.org/10.1016/j.crgsc.2022.100273 (2022).
[v] Bhatia, M. & Jain, A. Green marketing: a study of consumer perception and preferences in India. Electron Green J. 2:69 (2013).
[vi] Teng, P. K. et al. Green attitude and purchase intention towards environmental friendly product. J Emerg Econ Islamic Res. 6(1):17–25 (2018).
[vii] Dikdik, H. & Ardi, G. Factors affecting eco-friendly purchase intention: subjective norms and ecological consciousness as moderators. Cogent Business & Management.9(1) (2022).
[viii] Han, H., et al. Hotel customers’ environmentally responsible behavioral intention: Impact of key constructs on decision in green consumerism. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 45, 22–33. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhm.2014.11.004 (2015).