The role of Big Business in environmental degradation and poverty

Throughout the class so far I have realized how much negative impact industry has on the environment. The production methods of most companies leave large and harsh ecological footprints that add levels of problematic causation for the already present wicked environmental problems.  The leaders of big business corporations hold a major responsibility, in that they can choose to help or further hurt major worldly problems relating to not only environmental degradation but also issues with poverty in both developing and developed areas of the world.

One way the industry affects consumerism is the with its production levels and quality of their products. A company can impact both over and under consumers, however in different ways. Marketing teams of apparel companies typically target the over consumer, the more wealthy individuals in a community, due to the sheer fact that more money will be earned. Products can be made to last only a short amount of time. For example, the company Forever 21 uses very inexpensive, low quality fabrics to produce their products, that easily tarnish and break. These products are meant to be worn only a couple of times, and then discarded by consumers with the goal for customers to continuously keep purchasing clothes from them. Changes in fashion trends also adds to the constant purchases in over consumers. Industries target an individuals desire to portray themselves through the newest, dopest fashion trends in order to stay ahead in an ever competitive society of their peers.

Not only does this over consumerism impact the environment by creating an excessive amount of pollution from production of the garments, but it feeds the level of separation between the classes. Under consumers, typically part of the lower classes, are negatively impacted by the low quality of inexpensive garments. Due to their lack of funds under consumers can not afford to keep repurchasing garments that break and tear easily, causing them to lack in the level of clothing appropriate for an individual to survive. In addition, the dramatically fast paced production of products from companies, such as Forever 21, causes unsuitable working conditions and unequal payouts for the workers in the production factory. Employees that make the garment typically work in ‘sweatshops’, in areas where there are high levels of poverty. The income that these employees receive is often insufficient to provide the individual ,and possibly their family, with the funds necessary to live a decent life. Workers in these areas are also exposed to the harsh chemicals used in production, and are not often given adequate care to protect them.  Overall fast fashion causes over consumerism of which increases the production of products and further supports the mistreatment of workers in poverty.

In my opinion, industry practices will not change to support sustainable practices due to the high level of monetary power acquired through producing more goods than needed. However, if the leaders of the industries where to make any changes they should begin by changing how they produce their goods and what they produce them with. Ever changing fashion trends will make it difficult for apparel companies to halt the high level of production they are practicing at the moment. However, companies can make efforts to produce goods that have less environmental impact  in the present, so to reduce the overall impact in the future with continuous production. Lastly ,companies that adhere to the rules of fast fashion can make efforts to improve the quality of life of their workers, often in poverty, through higher wages and resources, such as workshops to improve their career, or childcare services for family’s that don’t have funds or time to support their entire family.




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