As Mark Earls, founder of agency HERD Consulting said: “The really interesting thing about the wider adoption of digital tech is that it makes the choices and enthusiasms of others more visible rather than less visible.”
So social media has the power to enhance peer group pressure, and spread the word about sustainability. The advantage of social media is that influence spreads through sharing and encouragement, rather than by pressuring people to conform.
Connectivity is also enhancing sustainability by opening up people’s eyes to the ways products and services are manufactured along the supply chain. For instance, slow fashion startup Zady, which aims to create longer-lasting clothes, shows films about the production process of the clothes on its website, including a film of the people involved in making the products. Transparency is an integral part of boosting sustainability, since knowledge about production allows people to choose processes that are more ethical and better for the environment.
Technology can open people’s eyes to sustainability, but messages need to be kept simple and clear. The focus should be first on creating great products that serve a need with built in environmental and social benefits, but technology also has a role in recognising what really transforms our behaviour towards living more sustainable lives.
Indeed, much of our supposed rediscovery of do-it-yourself creativity and “life hack” thriftiness involves skills that were considered necessary ones in life not all that long ago. And among the ones most sorely missing involve our basic command of repairing and maintaining the things we wear. We became addicted to replacing one cheap piece of apparel with another, assuming that it would be more cost- and time-effective just to throw the damaged piece away than to repair it – after all, we figured it would be out of style in a few months anyway.
- ZadyFounder, 2012 - presentgoogle.com/+Zady
- FoodspottingCo-founder, 2009 - 2012
- The New York TimesManager of Digital Partnerships and Social Media, 2007 - 2009
- Georgetown University
- The Blake School
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