Minister of Commerce Dwight Sutherland has urged consumers to join the global drive towards sustainable consumption and change what they buy.
In remarks at a church service to mark World Consumer Rights Day on Sunday at the Love and Light Ministries, based at St. George Secondary School, Constant, Sutherland urged citizens to use goods and services that promise minimal negative impact on the environment; are socially equitable and economically viable, and meet basic human needs,
Urging everyone to be carefully selective of their consumption patterns, he said: “We must always remain cognizant of our reliance on the planet on which we live for our basic needs of air, food, water and shelter.
“This reinforces the need for the efforts of the Government, business community and the consumer to be coordinated and synchronized to protect the integrity of our planet.
“It has to be a combined effort and the Government should not have to go the way of legislation to have it done.”
Sutherland stressed that the Government recognized the consumer as a valuable economic group with rights and responsibilities that needed to be promoted and protected.
Stating that through the work of various government departments and agencies, Government would continue to put the necessary legislative framework and procedures in place, he noted this would ensure transactions between consumers and businesses are based on the fundamentals of fairness and transparency while protecting consumers’ safety and the environment.
Part of the sustainable living effort, the minister, said, is evident with the new Control of Disposable Plastics Act, which banned the import of petroleum-based, single-use plastics.
Sutherland declared the law is aimed at protecting the natural environment by reducing the island’s carbon footprint and enhance the Government’s blue and green economy sustainability initiatives.
The Commerce Minister also stated that in response to the emerging COVID-19, Government had devised a coordinated framework for a national response to the virus.
He said that issues such as the virus crisis and climate change were some of the most topical and burdensome concerns which must be passionately ventilated within the context of sustainability.
While he assured that every effort would be made to ensure that sustainable consumption and production become a priority for business and policy-making, he maintained that central to such efforts would be the enhancement of consumer awareness based on sustainable choices and the call for the use/reuse and recycling of products to create a circular economy.
Sutherland called on all Barbadians to embrace the concept of being a sustainable consumer to promote a sustainable economy.
He said: “Let us… ensure that we work together to build a resilient Barbados that places sustainable production and consumption as the cornerstones of our development efforts.”
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