Sustainable Brazil: Perceptions and practices of the new Brazilian middle class on sustainability and conscious consumption

Mario Mattos
GfK CR, Brazil

INTRODUCTION

The debate on building a sustainable society is undoubtedly one of the major themes that emerged at the turn of the century. It left the environmentalist ghetto to reach government and media spotlight, overcoming corporate world resistance and gradually getting into consumer life. There is more and more a wish to reach a less linear economy (production, consumption, disposal), to have it more cyclical (production, consumption, disposal, reuse) and a more sustainable society.

Definitively, a big boost to this process will come as more consumers start to take on sustainable attitudes and behaviors and include these criteria in their process of choosing products and services.

The new National Policy on Solid Waste (PNRS), recently approved in Brazil, establishes responsibilities of the various productive agents (suppliers, producers/ manufacturers, retail distributors, etc.) in the collection, processing and disposal of waste products consumed. This law is still undergoing regulatory process, but it is already clear that to ensure the fulfillment of its responsibilities, companies must seek engaging help from consumers at least in the correct disposal of solid waste produced in their own product usage.