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10 solutions for a sustainable world

 

BNP Paribas Asset Management has joined up with the GoodPlanet Foundation to share useful information and good habits that everyone can adopt to provide, at their own level, long-term support for the sustainable development of this changing world.

Read our guide
10 solutions for a more sustainable world

 

1) Fight hunger by supporting sustainable agriculture

Agroecology, permaculture, organic farming and the like enable people to connect and to reconnect with their environment. These practices combine techniques such as composting and exploiting species’ complementary nature with ecological farmland management based on limiting water use and replanting hedges and trees to reduce erosion etc. We also need to give non market-friendly products a chance.

2) Embrace ethical fashion

Buy responsibly: less but better quality. We only wear, on average, 30% of the clothes we have in our wardrobe. When we make a purchase, we should consider whether it is useful or not. We need to promote materials that are new, natural, organic and recycled. Bamboo, for example, has an excellent CO2 absorption capacity and needs only a quarter of the water that cotton does. Hemp, wood fibre and even natural rubber (from hevea trees) are also being used more and more. Second-hand shops, jumble sales and wardrobe clearance sales help reduce textile production while giving clothes a new lease of life.

3) Promote your local economy

One way of supporting the local economy is to promote direct sales systems. In the food sector, for example, many producers offer organic box schemes. Buying your fruits and vegetables from the local market is another efficient way to make a difference. There are also many organisations that help social stakeholders run socially supportive local communities, focused on intergenerational initiatives for example.

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©Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Tea plucking, Kericho region (Kenya)

4) Buy fair trade

Sector-specific fair trade lables exist to provide consumers with the assurance that the products they buy are duly benefiting the smallholders and their families (e.g. Max Havelaar, Equitanle Ecocert, Producteurs paysans, Bio Equitable). They all ensure compliance with fair trade principles and offer transparent operating protocols and specifications as well as third-party verification systems.

5) Choose renewable energy to provide better access to energy worldwide

Reducing the impact of our energy consumption requires action at three levels:

  • reducing our everyday energy consumption
  • improving the energy efficiency of equipment and production processes
  • increasing our use of renewable energy as prices fall.

6) Save water

We can all make a difference. As individuals we can reduce our water consumption (and bills) by up to 40% through our everyday habits and equipment such as aerators and dual flush toilets. In farming, better irrigation, use of crops that need less water and are adapted to the local climate and the use of recycled water all make it possible to save substantial volumes of water.

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©Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Bareer reef, Queensland (Australia)

7) Fight deforestation

Agroforestry provides an alternative to deforestation by growing crops or grazing pasture and planting young trees on the same parcel of land. When we buy timber or wooden products, we should choose wood from sustainably managed, labelled sources (Forest Stewardship Council or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). And when we no longer need them we should recycle paper, cardboard and wood to avoid tapping virgin resources. As for palm oil, this should always be RSPO-certified, as this ensures traceability.

8) Promote the circular economy

The solution is encapsulated in the 4 Rs principle: Reduce, Reuse, Recover and Recycle. Before we buy anything, we should ask ourselves what purpose it serves. We should also consider the renting option. If we do need to buy, we should choose preowned, shared or ecologically designed products. When we are finished with our goods, we should give them a second life by repairing them, giving them away or selling them. If that is not possible, we should recycle to ensure that some if not all of the product goes back into the production cycle.

9) Give something back

Below are just some of the hundreds of ways to give and change the daily life of a large number of people:

  • give blood and save lives
  • give up some of your time to do voluntary work
  • sign petitions on subjects you care about
  • give away unwanted books, CDs, DVDs, tools and furnishing
  • give language lessons to immigrants and offer learning support for schoolchildren
  • donate food (e.g. through fridge sharing or food parcels) for less waste, more solidarity and stronger social bons
  • make financial donations to promote local causes
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©Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Young girls carrying buckles in the Dogon region (Mali)

10) Support social enterprise

Be informed. For example, the socioeco.org website offers a world map of social economy solutions. Support social economy stakeholders who are working for the public good. This could involve tutoring younger people who struggle within the school system, supporting a crowdfunding campaign or getting involved on the Ticketforchange.org platform.

BNP Paribas Asset Management's Human Development investment strategy selects companies that meet the social needs of today's world, by developing food with enhanced nutritional value, for example, researching infectious diseases of making new, accessible generic drugs. Others promote the development of products and/or services providing access to education and information, housing or jobs. The strategy targets companies that provide innovative and sustainable public infrastructure and transport solutions as well.