Presentations Publications UNEP

Discovering the world behind the product

“It is becoming more and more evident that consumers are increasingly interested in the world that lies  behind the product they buy. Apart from price and quality, they want to know how and where and by whom the product has been produced. This increasing awareness about environmental and social issues is a sign of hope. Governments and industry must build on that.”

My most widely quoted statement, first written for Klaus Toepfer in a press release about the Life Cycle Initiative (23 August 1999), then included in the chapter I wrote in Sustainable Solutions, with Nick Robins, published by Greenleafs in 2001, and later referred to in my Journal of Industrial Ecology column in 2005.

And put on a slide, in various formats and colours (talking about recycling!) the underlying message was used at numerous occasions in speeches and workshops throughout the years. It has proved to be a powerful quote which brings the message across that sustainable consumption has to be a common goal, to be brought about by not only consumers, but also and maybe foremost by business and governments.

Therewith the quote was used for both the development and promotion of the Sustainable Consumption Programme, including the Advertising Initiative, as the Life Cycle Initiative.

Read the UNEP press release (August 1999)

Order Sustainable Solutions article or read here (Robins and de Leeuw 2001, p. 52)

Download abstract of the Journal of Industrial Ecology column (2005)

Download full article (PDF) of the Journal of Industrial Ecology column (2005)

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