Decoding the Effects of Overconsumption on Business

Written by Joann Lee on Monday, 22 January 2024. Posted in Business Education

If you are a teenager in today's digital world, you have likely seen shopping haul videos all over social media and the frequency of fashion trend turnover. As a result of advancements in technology, manufacturing of goods has become extremely easy and accessible. Therefore, the demand for certain trendy items have skyrocketed, contributing to consumer culture. Overconsumption is defined as the excessive use of goods and services that cause harm or detrimental effects to humans and/or the environment, by exceeding the carrying capacity and life supporting systems of the planet and its ecosystems. Overproduction and overconsumption, especially in fast fashion, has many detrimental effects including resource exploitation, climate breakdown and pollution.

Dangerous and disagreeable labor tests the morality of consumers, and many people are getting paid below minimum wage, and often work in sweatshops. Many fast fashion retailers are cultrips, for example, H&M and Forever 21 sell enormous quantities of clothing at starkly low prices. This is made possible in large part due to the ill-paid labor of sweatshop workers. extremely difficult to escape poverty. However, they continue to work in order to supply the demand. In other words, if there are fewer buyers of any fast fashion company, the demand would be much lower, making it more accessible for workers to advance their positions in the company, and work for more reward. Consumers must be aware of the types of brands they are shopping from and educate themselves on unjust labor practices, and the environmental effects of fast fashion.

In today's business landscape, the irreversible environmental consequences of overconsumption are striking. The fashion industry, particularly fast fashion, holds the dubious title of the second most polluting business globally, as declared by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Black Friday, a day dedicated to sales, significantly fuels this cycle of overproduction and overconsumption, exacerbating pollution and toxic gas emissions that contribute to the alarming specter of global warming. This is evident in the extreme weather patterns currently affecting the Midwest USA.

In response to this pressing issue, the minimalist movement emerges as a beacon of hope. This philosophy encourages individuals to reassess their relationship with possessions, advocating for a lifestyle centered around essentials. Social media platforms, such as @adbusters on Instagram, actively educate and champion the principles of minimalism, fostering a community dedicated to mindful consumption.

Moreover, initiatives like Buy Nothing Day serve as crucial reminders to pause and reflect on the consequences of our consumption habits. This annual observance encourages individuals to not make purchases for a day, prompting a broader dialogue about the environmental impact of overconsumption. By participating in such events and supporting mindful movements, we can contribute to a growing collective awareness that can potentially shift the tide against the negative future of overconsumption.

Overall, while overconsumption poses significant challenges, the power to instigate change lies within our grasp as students. Through the adoption of sustainable practices, engagement with mindful movements, and a commitment to responsible consumption, we can actively contribute to a more environmentally conscious and ethically grounded business landscape.

About the Author

Joann Lee

Joann Lee

Joann is a Business Education Writer at Girls For Business.

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