Earth Day 2024

By Dr. Ange Kakpo (Assistant Professor of Economics) & Dr. Geri Mason (Associate Professor of Economics)

The Earth is not a customer in a market nor a producer with decision-making abilities. We extract natural resources from the Earth for our production purposes. Firms add value through these production processes, but value is created by interaction between customers and firms, and by the measurements that we choose to capture that value. SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production holds each of us accountable for our various roles in this value creation and affirmation process. As people of faith, we are called to be stewards – of our natural resources, of our monetary resources, of our consumption (consumers) and production (producers) choices.

Consumers participate in this stewardship process by adjusting their preferences and signaling to firms that they prefer more sustainable products that protect the environment and care for creation. This can involve choosing eco-friendly products, reducing waste, and supporting businesses with strong sustainability track records. Producers participate in this conversation by setting standards and values for themselves that they won’t compromise for the sake of making quick profits, by choosing to value sustainability above purely monetary gain. Sustainable production practices include using renewable energy, reducing packaging, and ensuring fair labor and production practices. Firms are also stewards of their supply chains and are responsible for using their resources to ensure sustainability in the entire chain. As customers, care for creation comes in the form of choosing to support firms that are embracing these costs rather than caring only for low prices at the expense of people and the planet.

Having the extra time and/or money to research firms as consumers and to pay slightly more for sustainable products is a place of privilege. It is our duty to bear these extra costs in order to push the market into a space where it can do what it does best: use competition to achieve more efficient pathways to a sustainable future. As in the parable of the talents, those with more are asked to meet a higher standard in stewardship.

As inhabitants of the Earth, we all have a part to play in building a more sustainable economy. It is imperative to reflect on our habits and choices to ensure that they showcase our faith and care for creation. We with resources must support businesses that prioritize sustainability, and seek out opportunities to improve our understanding of responsible consumption and production. Together, guided by our faith and values, we can be good stewards of the Earth’s resources and create a better future for all.

Center for Faithful Business

Seattle Pacific University

Dr. JoAnn Flett, Executive Director


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