Yes, it’s exciting that the concern for our environment is growing substantially and we are all looking for ways to decrease our footprint. And, indeed there are many different ways. On the contrary, there are a lot of people out there who believe saying no to one plastic straw or saying no to one plastic bag may not have an impact on the problem. Why? Because they believe it just isn’t enough.
But.. what if we look at the COMPLETE journey of an item. Just like life, it is essential for us to understand the bigger picture in an unbiased manner, without being influenced by the many external sources. There are many who are reluctant to move away from something like plastic straws because of inconvenience, price points or simply lack of awareness. The awareness aspect is a factor that can help us have a more holistic and long term view on a product rather than a short-term view that can be detrimental to our health and environment
It’s amazing because saying no to a simple plastic bag indeed decreases demand, which drives our economy. A lower demand means lower profitability for an organization, meaning less resources and capital to fund their production process. Only way for a company to then survive is to listen to consumers and become more sustainable.
If you think saying no to plastic bags and all the other single-use plastic items is only because of poor disposal infrastructure and ending up in oceans, it's much bigger than that
The lifecycle assessment highlights a cradle-to-grave, and now transitioning to cradle-to-cradle, approach and provides us all a technique to understand and become mindful of all the various inputs that go into all the stages of the product we end up purchasing.
The lifecycle of a product includes the sourcing of raw materials, methods of distribution, the manufacturing process, how we use and how we dispose of it. Breaking this down, we can slowly highlight which parts of the lifecycle are not sustainable and environmentally-friendly. For example, Bare Necessities works on closing the loop by making our product packaging zero waste (going back to nature, or can be used over and over!).
But it's not just about the environment, the lifecycle assessment helps you assess the transparency and the ethics behind your supply chain, and an insight into all the labour that goes into your final product. This allows us to make our processes more socially just for societies as well. At Bare, in addition to protecting our environment as a vision, we aim to provide women from various socioeconomic backgrounds opportunities, while up skilling them so they can find their strengths and see the impact they can have.
Through a lifecycle assessment, we are able to continue improving our supply chain by increasingly sourcing our raw materials locally from local farmers and ensuring we are supporting local communities as we strive to make zero waste lifestyles a norm.
If you look at the UN SDGs, we can see that it aims for organizations and countries to take a holistic approach to building a sustainable environment, from access to water, to eradicating poverty, to climate action and even quality education. A lifecycle assessment of your current deliverables/products/services should strive to be in line with these SDGs
Many a times, we wonder, how can we get access to all the information as consumers? The answer is quite straightforward - ask questions and do your own research. Ask questions about the ingredients, the people who work hard to bring this product to shelves, the packaging, and even what the brand stands for. This is always the first step in becoming aware of what's happening around us.
As consumers, even if we don’t conduct an in-depth lifecycle assessment of the items we buy, just having a general idea of what goes into manufacturing the product, selling the product and using the product gives a huge understanding that this is more than just wrongful disposing.
"We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly." - Anne-Marie Bonneau
Written by: Mehul Manjeshwar