The veganism has some good common aspects with sustainability regarding conscious consume. Whilst most known idea to people regarding veganism is related with decreasing greenhouse gases emissions, methane mainly and deforestation for cattle, issue goes beyond reaching supply chain, world wide market and producers.
Vegans defend animals are conscious beings that understand what is around them, therefore, they feel fear and pain, and suffer on being used for human consumption and that all animals should have the right to live with minimal interference from us. Vegans by avoiding consuming any animal derived product contribute for a change in the supply chain causing decreasing demand for animal derived product. The most common examples are meat like red, pig, chicken or fish, eggs and dairy while no less important but not well known, leather, honey, silk and wool (still, some products like cosmetics and medicines can be made from animals and be hard to get to know disclosed information). By decreasing demand for those products e replacing them by others make animal-free safe, generally vegetables, supply chain and production are forced to review their offers and the economics start to change gradually.
Animal made products will still have for a while smaller cost given production and distribution scale, while vegan products are generally considered premium rate to pioneer consumers and more expensive initially, until production and consume ramp up and more offers are created. As those products get more popular and more producers join the market, price tends to decrease.
And what veganism has to do with sustainability?
When we speak of sustainability, more known issues are energy efficiency on lighting, heating and cooling on less energy demanding devices and through better design, and hydric efficiency, or water racional use in such modern fixtures, and water reuse for less noble purposes like irrigation and flushing. Green building programs like Acua, LEED or Referencial Casa handle those very well.
However, just like veganism, sustainability programs also take care of supply chain or fair markets issues, be through recommendations, be through certification policies or mandates. So, just like vegans lead the market to alternative products from the common, green building programs stimulate certified sources by third party, audited and that make up less impact on their operations.
Less known public known examples are the use of certified wood, purchased from audited and accredited sources, certified by entities like the FSC and from safe certified materials by entities like the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. Those are two program examples that help consumers or their procurement decision for construction and operation.
The Brazilian program Referencial Casa also goes beyond usual and demands the construction workers are formally hired according to Brazilian labour laws, and suggests that capacitation programs for the community are brought in for those people to develop them with safer practices, recycling, read and writing skills as examples, not excluding others.
Those programs, by considering the impact on supply chain, production, transport of goods and on people’s life, make that consumers are more aware of from where they get their products, results of their life cycle on society and on the environment and bring changes on the market as a whole, just like vegan product consumption pattern that transforms meal market.
Both themes have in common the way the seek to reach moral and economics goals, seeking to push the market through changes in demand and as an outcome, production. This has a bigger transformation potencial than laws, although both are complementary.