5 Reasons to Care about the US-China Greener Consumption Forum

On March 22, in Washington D.C., an important forum is taking place called US- China Greener Consumption Forum: How Women Can Use the Power of Their Purse to Protect the Planet. It will focus on empowering women to make greener, healthier choices that lessen pollution, carbon in our atmosphere, and improve health and wellbeing of everyone.

Here’s why we should go to the forum (if possible!), or read about it, and share widely:
1. Women shop for their families and can make a difference with their actions and purchases. 
Consumer demand is leading to the most rapid use of natural resources, energy, and water that the world has ever seen. The consequences for pollution, impact on climate change, exposure to toxic substances, and waste are equally significant. 
While we can’t shop our way out of every problem, the choices we make when we do shop offer us one of the fastest, easiest ways to protect our health and the health of our families. Just as importantly, consumer dollars are a company’s lifeblood. When we shift our spending to greener products and services, we’re sending a powerful message to manufacturers worldwide that, if they want to continue to get our business, their products must meet our greener, cleaner expectations.
2.  Consuming LESS will be a focus of the forum as well. 
Buying less is the first part of the green consumption equation. At the Forum, we will highlight examples of the “sharing economy” and look at case studies (like “meatless Monday” and ENERGY STAR in the U.S., and similar examples in China) that have been very successful in reducing consumption.
3.  The focus is on women. 
In the U.S., women influence at least 80% of all consumer purchases. In China, women contribute about half of all household income and influence and make more than half of all purchasing decisions. If women in both countries can be mobilized to use their power as consumers and as entrepreneurs alike, significant progress can be made in reducing our global carbon footprint while creating a greener, cleaner world.
4. Women are making the world healthier and greener by organizing in the United States. We can share what has worked and what we learned. 
We have already seen this to be true in the U.S., where “green” consumer demand has motivated companies to reduce their use of toxic chemicals in baby products, minimize packaging and incorporate recycled materials into the packaging they use, power their manufacturing facilities with solar and wind, develop concentrated cleaning products to reduce materials use and waste, grow more food organically, and create cosmetics and personal care products free of parabens, phthalates, and other hormone-disrupting chemicals, just to name a few examples.

5. Environmental heroes and advocates will be speaking at this forum. 
A complete list of speakers will be available next week. Lisa P. Jackson, the recently retired Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will deliver the luncheon keynote address. Other speakers Huan Gao, the mayor of Yichun, China; Xiang Guo, the General Director of the Chinese Women Activity Center; Peter Banwell, Director of Product Marketing for Energy Star; Elizabeth O’Connell, Campaigns Director for Green America; the founders of Au Naturale organic cosmetics and Skincando body care products; Cheryl Newman, VP and Deputy Chief of Mission for Honest Tea; and many more.
Can’t come? Follow the event on twitter and Facebook. That’s what I will be doing from up here in Vermont!  


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