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Implementing sustainable practices should not just be the latest trendy thing to do. Practices implemented by an organisation should show results. These results should show how the organisation has become more sustainable and lowered their environmental impact since better practices have been adopted. But, how does sustainability affect the consumer? Why should an organisation’s sustainability influence the consumer’s decision on which products to buy? Well, first we need to understand what sustainability is and why it should matter to you. Often we confuse sustainability with “going green” but they are actually varying ideas, although there is some relation.

Going green is often associated with a singular process or product of which its aim is to reduce its environmental impact. For instance, a product that has been manufactured using material that is recycled could be called a green product but that does not necessarily mean it is a sustainable product, especially if its manufacturing process is not viable or cost-effective within the bigger picture. Sustainability on the other hand rather focuses on the holistic approach of the manufacturers’ processes. In other words, sustainability does not only focus on one aspect. It looks at the entire process of making the product. It requires identifying areas that need to be adapted so as to start implementing practices that complement nature and people, while at the same time being cost effective. Such an approach is necessary if we want to ensure a healthy environment for the next generation.

The changing climate and environment should put us consumers in a reality check mode, read more about the effect of climate change on food prices here. Sustainable manufacturing is the only viable option that manufacturers can adopt in order to ensure the planet, as well as their survival. Consumers play a crucial role in the success of a manufacturing business.  Supporting business that is detrimental to our environment suggests that we are not concerned about future generations and the environment. Ensuring accountability and safeguarding of the environment is therefore in our hand

Portia Phohlo

Portia is a Trace and Save researcher and has been part of the team that works on the Woodlands Dairy sustainability project for the past 4 years. She studied B.Sc in Agriculture where she majored in crop and soil science at the University of Fort Hare. She went on to do her honors and master’s degree in soil science at the University of the Free State. She is very passionate about soil health and soil microbiology and believes that applying soil health principles will rehabilitate degraded soils.

In her free time, Portia loves catching up on House of Cards and The Walking Dead series. The latter she says she finds it fascinating how a dead decomposed organic material can still be conscious, this actually breaks all rules of microbiology according to her. When she’s not watching that, she enjoys watching motivational videos from Ted, especially ones by her idols Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Brene Brown.
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Portia Phohlo

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