We can all make a difference

The global challenges we face are almost overwhelming. Today, more than seven billion people live on planet Earth. There are not enough natural resources to go round while in Europe we live as if we had 2.8 planets at our disposal. On top of this global warming makes our situation even more precarious. But the global climate agreement in Paris 2015 kindled a spark of hope.

If we continue to emit the same volume of greenhouse gases as we do today, by the next century the average temperature will rise between three and four degrees by the next century. This will exacerbate water scarcity and jeopardize our ability to produce food.

We need to act now

At the Paris climate meeting in 2015 the world agreed to limit global warming to well below 2°C by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions across the planet. Consumption patterns and production chains are crucial if our children and grandchildren are to enjoy a brighter future. Today a number of companies provide climate saving services that enable consumers to make more sustainable choices. The Schibsted report on second hand trade marketplaces illuminates the new services that have been created by the growth of information technology.

The importance of secondhand trade

Secondhand marketplaces deliver substantial climate benefit – they make it possible for consumer goods, such as furniture, to be reused many times before being recycled. But we have to be careful. Not all products are suitable for long-time use. Certain products, such as household appliances, are carbon emission monsters. These products must be analysed in a life-cycle perspective. We need to evaluate each and every consumer product – if we are to properly understand the climate saving to be gleaned from selling an old refrigerator, we must assess its total impact as it progresses from raw material through manufacture and use, to its final destination as waste. It may be better to purchase a new energy-efficient model than to hang on to an old one.

WWF regards this report as an important contribution as it reveals the climate benefit that accrues from secondhand trade. Services, such as Schibsted’s marketplaces, can help consumers select the climate-friendliest goods and services, reduce the exploitation of natural resources and encourage more sustainable consumer choices.

NAME: Karin Lindwall

TITLE: Fundraising Director, WWF