Eco Friendly vs. Budget Friendly

Author: Ashita Khandelwal
November 13, 2020

November 2020 just got recorded as the warmest November ever in the Netherlands and this is a red alert for a big problem that needs to be addressed - Global Warming. We have been hearing and reading a lot about climate change and how more and more companies are embracing the concept of sustainability. However, the real question is how much an average person can contribute to the cause. According to a recent survey done by Harvard Business Review, 65% people said that they wanted to buy brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. There are multiple reasons for this gap between willingness and action, but the most obvious one is how unaffordable eco-friendly products are and how big a role price plays in a consumer’s decision making for buying a product. 

We all want to do what is best for our planet, but we are simply unable to do so because this good-doing comes with a massive price tag, which can sometimes divert us from the quality of the product at hand. The environmental certifications used by green companies to be more transparent can be quite expensive and it shows in the final price. We can actually get more value for our money if we buy sustainable alternatives instead of disposable items that end up in the trash. Additionally, this contributes to the sustainable development goal of economic equality as these eco-friendly companies also tend to ensure fair labour employment terms promoting redistribution of wealth. Furthermore, as consumers continue to increase their demand, green companies can produce on a larger scale which can drive the fixed cost per unit of production, and consequently the price, down. 

Nevertheless, the ridiculously huge sticker price does not always accurately reflect the higher cost of production, because this “sustainable” branding is being used as a marketing strategy by many high-end brands to retain their luxury status and attract wealthier consumers. Research done by Kearney reveals that the price of sustainable products is almost double the price of conventional alternatives. This makes them exclusive to the elite buyers. Admittedly, greener items incur greater costs in order to protect the environment, ensure economic development and promote social justice, but the price we need to pay to reduce our carbon footprint could be lower.

Evidently, going green isn’t the most budget friendly option out there, but we need to understand that this price takes into consideration the negative externalities on the environment and exploitation of labour that had been long ignored by us. When you buy sustainable products, you don't just make an investment in a durable good that will last you a long time, but you also make an investment in the future of this planet.

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