When you fill your cart at the grocery store, buy a new pair of shoes, or pay your utility bills, do you think about climate change? What and how much we buy makes a difference — especially when you consider the combined impact of all consumers.

PEARSON: “The U.S. is estimated to generate about fifteen percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and the majority of those emissions are industrial emissions from factories, power plants, agricultural facilities, airplanes — all the other activities that make up the industrial economy.”

That’s Jason Pearson of the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council. He says it’s hard to change the buying behavior of millions of people, but a more targeted approach could engage institutional purchasers.

Just a few thousand people do the buying for universities, government agencies, and other large enterprises. It’s a small group that wields massive purchasing power. According to Pearson, they influence up to ten trillion dollars of spending and two-thirds of our country’s industrial greenhouse gas emissions.

So by buying less and buying better, institutional purchasers could create large-scale demand for more sustainable products and supply chains, while cutting carbon pollution.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: Copyright protected.

More Resources
Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council
World Resources Institute Climate Data Explorer

Lisa Palmer

Lisa Palmer is a freelance journalist and a fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, SESYNC, in Annapolis, Md. Her writing covers the environment, energy, food security, agriculture,...