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Help the consumer

'Going green' needs to be easier, say campaigners

Government and business need to take radical action and get damaging products out of the shops and help consumers adopt greener lifestyles.

That’s the message from the government’s own advisory body, the Sustainable Consumption Roundtable, which says consumers need to be able to buy green products and services with ease.

It says that at present the government and business are waiting on consumers to choose more green products and services.

On the other hand, consumers are ready and willing to act on climate change and the environment, but can’t see the point because they feel their efforts would be isolated and in vain.

According to the Sustainable Consumption Roundtable report – ‘I will if you will’ – the government should:

  • Unite with business to get the most damaging products out of the shops, and replace them with environmentally friendly products. These alternatives include TVs and set-top boxes that use massively less power when on standby, affordable hybrid cars and alternative fish species to Britain’s hugely over-fished cod
  • Give consumers up-to-date energy information, so they can manage their energy use, by getting smart meters into every home by 2012
  • Take the lead and make all schools and hospitals carbon-neutral by 2015
  • Automatically give travellers the option to carbon- offset their flights, to demonstrate the environmental impact of flying

Ed Mayo, Co-Chair of the Roundtable, says: ‘Going green can be smart and stylish. But it is not yet simple. We want to call the bluff of politicians, to take action to make the sustainable choice the easier choice.

‘Eighty per cent of our environmental impact as consumers comes from just four everyday decisions – how we run our homes, what food we eat, how we get around, and holiday travel. Solutions need to start here.’

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