UpChoose invited to speak at the United Nations
The UN invited us to ask: how do we engage consumers in more sustainable behaviors?
Earlier this month, we had the great honor to speak at the United Nations in Paris. They wanted to learn more about the UpChoose journey and how we build solutions for a more sustainable consumption model.
The meeting was attended by senior representatives from the UN who work to promote sustainable consumption as well as representatives from large companies like IKEA, academics, governments, activists, influencers and new companies that are innovating new models like UpChoose.
In 2015, the United Nations launched the Sustainable Development Goals, a collection of 17 global goals as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. Goal number 12 is "Responsible Consumption and Production" and focuses on reducing our ecological footprint by changing the way we produce and consume goods and resources.
They invited us to ask: how do we convince consumers to adopt more sustainable behaviors? Our response: don’t put all the burden on individual consumers, let’s be bold and creative enough to build better alternatives that deliver not just sustainability but a better way to consume. One that starts with what’s truly important and supports living a fulfilled life. And let’s use new business models to make it accessible to all, not just a happy few.
Here are some introductory remarks we presented at the event:
"Our consumption model is broken: we’re over-using natural resources, exposing children to toxic chemicals in our everyday products, and creating too much waste. This model is ingrained in the fabric of our culture and lifestyle. The changes needed go beyond what products we choose. We need to redesign our behaviors: Why and how we consume.
The solutions must be designed around our key challenges: to reduce overconsumption, we need to help people understand and get what they really need; to avoid toxic products, we need to ensure the highest sustainability and health standard; and to limit waste, we must enable after-use networks so people can share resources and costs.
To be adopted at scale, these alternatives need to offer a significantly superior value proposition. That means solutions that everyone can be excited about and afford, beyond a happy few. To do that, we can leverage technology to learn from a large amount of data what we really need in various situations. We can adopt new business models and build platforms that seamlessly organize re-use networks between people and families and drive prices down. When we do that, we create endless opportunities to re-imagine and improve our lives.
Where do we start? One good place is right at the beginning: babies. They are the most vulnerable to our current consumption model, and they’re also the key to building a better one."