Sustainability, Simplified !
What is sustainability? Our perspective is that it embodies the following principles:
The following are broad considerations when evaluating whether a product is sustainable:
- Production - does the manufacturing process emit gases that harm the environment? Is the manufacturing process harmful to the health of those involved, eg. Use of certain chemicals?
- Material - is it biodegradable? Can it be recycled? Is it recycled material?
- Quality - does it break easily (if it is not a single-use product), resulting in unnecessary waste and more consumption? Hence, durability should be an important consideration when assessing if a product is sustainable.
- Use - Does it cause any harm to humans & the environment when being used?
It is not straight forward when assessing whether a product is sustainable. For example,
- Wood & bamboo are great materials for products. But when we use them, we are effectively cutting down trees & plants. Too much of this cannot be good for the environment. Yet, some of it is necessary, especially for manufacturing single-use & disposable products. Why? Because a lot these disposable products end up as litter in the wrong places. So if that happens, it is best that they can biodegrade on their own. And even if they are incinerated, they do not emit harmful gases to the atmosphere.
- It is not possible to totally eradicate the use of plastic, at least at this point in time. Some products do need certain types of plastic. Hence, the better way to address the plastic issue is to encourage disciplined re-cycling. By using products made from re-cycled plastics, we will generate demand for such materials. Manufacturers will use re-cycled plastic because consumers want products made from such. In this way, we encourage a circular economy. At the same time, we also discourage the further manufacturing of “new” plastics upstream.
- Even if a product is made from eco-friendly or sustainable materials, the packaging and logistics involved in bringing it to us may make it unsustainable. Hence, when a product is labelled as sustainable, it is probably only at a best-effort basis because vendors cannot control the entire value-chain of bringing products to customers.
A sustainable lifestyle is about being discerning in how we live so that:
- We can maintain our lifestyle at a certain rate or level without compromising on our physical or mental well-being
- We avoid the depletion of natural resources (to the detriment of future generations) in the products that we choose to use
This means that we should engage in meaningful work that is safe and done at levels that our mental or physical health can support. We should consume within our means and avoid wastage in whatever form. To this effect, we recommend the use products that are durable, affordable & not just because they carry a certain brand.
Ethics & Governance
We should support companies that embrace a code of ethics that are aligned with sustainable principles. This goes beyond the materials used for their products. It should include their production processes, employment and governance practices. It goes beyond what they report publicly. It is the heart & soul of their operating principles & values adopted to bring products & services to consumers. This includes the longevity of the business, including succession planning.
As you can see, sustainability can be complicated to the layman. To shield our customers from all these complexities, we have done the homework for you. We curated a set of products that we deem are sustainable. This way, we simplify sustainability for our customers.
Along the way, we will add new products or remove existing ones to sustain alignment with our sustainability principles. We seek your feedback so that we can refine our product set and promote what is "good for the earth and for our good".