Business View Magazine | Volume 8, Issue 9

89 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE VOLUME 8, ISSUE 9 THE SUSTAIN CONSORTIU Helping Make All Consumer Products More Susta By Dr. Kevin Dooley, Chief Scientist at Sustainability Consortium, Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management, Arizona State University The Sustainability Price-Tag of Consumer Goods C onsumer goods bring significant benefits to society. From soap that prevents diseases to the packaging that preserves our food to the electronics that are transforming our daily lives, consumer goods bring both comfort and enjoyment to us. Through improved production methods that reduce costs, the penetration of consumer goods now reaches well beyond the middle class and has accelerated rapidly. The question is: What are the environmental and social costs that arise within our world so influenced by consumer goods? Consumer products are produced and sold by a supply chain of organizations. For example, mobile phones are made by a supply chain consisting in part of mining companies, plastics manufacturers, electronics parts manufacturers, phone assemblers, packaging suppliers, transportation and logistics companies, retailers, and service providers. While the physical activities performed by these organizations add value to the final product, they also create impacts on the environment and people. Energy, water, and resources are consumed in production, and some activities may contribute to pollution, threaten ecosystems, or impact humans in negative ways. Climate change, water scarcity, and biodiversity loss are major