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SINEWS

NFGL Jönköping asks: Are you a responsible consumer?

The NFGL Local Network in Jönköping tackled a tricky corner of the sustainability discussion recently with a panel discussion on responsible consumption. Network chair Anup Banerjee shares what they learned.

NFGL Jönköping asks: Are you a responsible consumer?
The team from NFGL Jönköping. Photo: Ehsanul Kabir

Living in a life surrounded by the blessings of modern innovations, how often do we think of our responsibility towards a sustainable consumption pattern?

Do we really care about the ecosystem that we belong to? How can we face the challenges and take actions both individually and collaboratively?

With these questions in mind, NFGL Jönköping partnered with SSA, a student organization working to promote sustainability among the students of Jönköping University, to organize an interactive “Panel Discussion on Responsible Consumption” on November 23 at Jönköping University.

Two faculty members, Dr. Adele Berndt and Dr. Mark Edwards from the university’s business school, joined us on the panel, which was moderated by a representative from SSA. We organised the discussion an open event, attracting and audience of more than 50 students, including a few Ph.D. researchers.

The panelists onstage. Photo: Ehsanul Kabir

The event started with an introduction session of both organisations.

On behalf of NFGL Jönköping, I addressed the audience and introduced them to our organisation and activities so far.

I also reflected upon why this topic is related to the thematic areas that NFGL works for and why this is important for us to discuss.

Then SSA took the lead and engaged the audience in an interactive discussion pointing to some major sustainability concerns such as fast fashion, food waste, and water pollution – all of which poste massive threats around the world.

The audience was then shown a couple of related videos and given time for open discussions. After this session, we started our key segment – the panel discussion.

A participant poses a question to the panelists. Photo: Ehsanul Kabir

We started with asking the panelists about how to define responsible consumption and why discussing it is important for us.

Dr. Berndt defined the term as conscious consumption and said that it happens when consumers are aware of the consequences of their consumption behavior, and thus makes the right decision.

As an example, she discussed how buying local can be regarded as a responsible behavior as it keeps the local production value chain alive.

On the other hand, Dr. Edwards urged us to explore our own personal values to better understand the term “Responsible Consumption”. According to him, consuming responsibly can be ensured when we are true to our core values and act like an authentic person that cares about the surrounding ecosystem.

As the discussion continued, topics such as the circular economy, greenwashing, and sustainable production were discussed. There was spontaneous participation from the audience in this discussion and together with the panel members, they tried to explore how to envision a sustainable future ahead and what responsibilities millennials should be aware of in doing so.

 Fika and mingle. Photo: Ehsanul Kabir

Following the panel discussion, we had a mini quiz on responsible consumption and its consequences around the world. The top two scorers were awarded amazing gift cards.

At the end of the formal event, we joined a fika and mingle session with the audience and the panel members. The fika was served with organic and local selections and used reusable mugs for coffee to skip using paper cups.

We would like to thank both the Swedish Institute for its generous financial support and SSA for the strategic partnership.

We believe this event was successful in contributing to the issue and inspiring students like us in being more aware of our way of consuming goods and services.

NFGL Jönköping looks forward to organising more events like this in the weeks and months ahead.

SINEWS

Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

Ronoh Philip, who is studying for his masters degree in Infectious Disease Control at Södertörn University, explains why he thinks the Swedish concept of 'lagom' is the best way to achieve good social health.

Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

During my one week orientation program on August 2019 at Södertörn University, we were presented with many aspects of Swedish culture and practices. One of the new aspects that I learnt was the “lagom culture”, As I quote one of the presenters about applying lagom to our studies, he said: ”Lagom will reduce your stressful burdens of hectic lecture schedules and ensure that you spend equal time of working and socializing in the university.”

So being a student with a background in public health and society, I got interested and searched for the deeper meaning of lagom, and how it can  apply to society and health. I found out that it is a Swedish way of life, it is a concept which means not too much and not too little, just enough. I learnt that it came from a Viking tradition laget om which means 'around the group' and was allegedly used to describe just how much mead or soup one should drink when passing the bowl around in the group.

If this concept is applied to achieve social health goals, it would really fit well. So, what is social health at first? Social health is how you interact with other people and adapt in different situations, it deals with how people in society deal with each other. It is important to note that there is a close link between good social health and improvement of the other aspects of human health, this can lead to the achievement of SDG goal of good health and wellbeing. It also leads to self-satisfaction and happiness; no wonder Sweden is ranked as one the happiest countries in the world. It is ranked 7th in 2019, according to world happiness report. I believe lagom has a big role in this achievement.

In the country where I come from, Kenya, one of the greatest challenges we face in our society, is the ability for people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to interact and form positive and cohesive relationships with each other. From my perspective, when I finish my studies and return, lagom will be worth implementing in the workplace, the place where I live and the society as whole, as it is the best way of finding simple, attainable solutions to our everyday worries like stress, eating better, having downtime and achieving happiness. It’s a balance of work and life, so everything is in sustainable existence with each other.

My goal during my entire university studies at Södertörn, will be to learn more about the lagom principle and also be able to apply it on our SI NFGL Local Network platform, because it is surely one of the best ways to achieve a good  work-life balance, reaching consensus with my colleagues and adapting a team minded approach in dealing with issues in an organization and the society.