A question of responsibility arises when negotiating our path to a sustainable future. At the October 2009 RITE Group conference there was much debate regarding the lack of responsibility within industry, and whose role it should be to lead the way, setting examples of sustainable behaviour. Mark Sumner, raw materials specialist for Marks and Spencer, was disappointed by the volume of people too eager to pass the blame and the lack of people willing to take responsibility for their own actions. People often look to industry
and the government for guidance and encouragement to make sustainable choices.
However, in a consumer led economy, companies are unlikely to take risks and invest in product development if there is little evidence it will be successful in the marketplace.
Similarly, the government needs to ‘feel the pressure of their public calling on them to make ambitious commitments’ (Brown 2009) in order to initiate and see through commitment to necessary change. It is vital that individuals show their support for sustainable development wherever possible, to communicate concerns and expectations with local councils and government. Governments require evidence of support for changes they make, and although it is their responsibility to make decisions to benefit the population, they will first need to see a large percentage of the population in favour of such change. Retailers should provide opportunities for the consumer to become more environmentally aware when shopping and as previously mentioned, be transparent and honest about the products you are selling, the
labour you are using and how sustainable the supply chain is.