Fostering Sustainable Bioeconomies: The Role of Conscious Consumption

Publication Date


Document Type

Book Chapter


Sustainability is typically discussed in a siloed fashion in the United States. Cradle-to-cradle production and regulation to curb greenhouse gas emissions are proffered as salves for evidenced degradation, but little attention is directed to how a society can enable sustainability as a cultural norm. Further and related, the role of the individual economic agent as consumer, investor, and government participant is seemingly not acknowledged. To a large extent, the population majority delegates the powers conferred in the three roles to a minority largely through indifferent conveyance posited on trust, leaving outcomes impacting society as a whole dependent on incentives of a few, who may or may not be aligned with the public welfare. Therefore, given the evidence of marketed demand fostered by a consumerism based economy, perhaps the most significant, powerful, and traction-inducing vehicle for instituting sustainability may be found in enabling conscious consumption at the individual level. Arguably, the conduit for conscious consumption would then be education not limited to defining sustainability, but inclusive of the rationale for sustainability, the patience requisite for implementation, and the acceptance of sustainability as a societal norm of behavior. However, the building block for conscious consumption is found in understanding the basis of present consumption decisions, ultimately the values that shape the behaviors that lead to observable economic outcomes.

Original Citation

Venkatesan, M. (2018). Fostering Sustainable Bioeconomies: The Role of Conscious Consumption. In Leal Filho W., Pociovălișteanu D., Borges de Brito P., Borges de Lima I. (Eds), Towards a Sustainable Bioeconomy: Principles, Challenges and Perspectives (pp. 3-16). Cham: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-73028-8_1