Barbadians can contribute to the global drive towards sustainable consumption through using goods and services which promise minimal negative impact on the environment; are socially equitable and economically viable; and meet basic human needs.
This was emphasized on Sunday by Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland, as he delivered remarks at a church service to commemorate World Consumer Rights Day – March 15, at the Love and Light Ministries, based at St. George Secondary School, Constant, St. George.
Urging everyone to be carefully selective in choosing their consumption patterns, he said: “We must always remain cognizant of our reliance on the planet on which we live for our basic needs of air, food, water and shelter. This reinforces the need for the efforts of the Government, business community and the consumer to be coordinated and synchronized to protect the integrity of our planet. It has to be a combined effort and Government should not have to go the way of legislation to have it done.”
Minister Sutherland stressed that Government recognized the consumer as a valuable economic group with rights and responsibilities that needed to be promoted and protected.
Stating that through the work of various government departments and agencies, it would continue to put the necessary legislative framework and procedures in place, he noted this would ensure transactions between consumers and businesses are based on the fundamentals of fairness and transparency, while protecting consumers’ safety and the environment.
He said part of the sustainable living effort was evident with the new legislation, the Control of Disposable Plastics Act, 2019, aimed at protecting the natural environment.
The Small Business Minister stated this would, among other things, prohibit the importation of petroleum-based, single-use plastics; assist in reducing Barbados’ carbon footprint; and enhance our blue and green economy sustainable initiatives.
Mr. Sutherland also stated that in response to the emerging COVID-19, Government had devised a coordinated framework for a national response to the virus.
And the Minister admitted that issues such as this and climate change were some of the most topical and burdensome concerns which must be passionately ventilated within the context of sustainability.
While he assured that every effort would be made to ensure that sustainable consumption and production become a priority for business and policy-making, he maintained that central to such efforts would be the enhancement of consumer awareness based on sustainable choices and the call for the use/reuse and recycling of products to create a circular economy.
Minister Sutherland called on all Barbadians to embrace the concept of being a sustainable consumer to promote a sustainable economy.
He said: “Let us … ensure that we work together to build a resilient Barbados that places sustainable production and consumption as the cornerstones of our development efforts.”