"small choices, Big Impact"

“What are the impacts of my product choices on planet Earth?”

“I’m just one person, so how can it possibly matter?”

Here at the Rochester Institute of Technology, we do a lot of community outreach, and we often hear people questioning their impact on our planet. Our research has shown that in many product categories, the ripple effect of each small choice can create an enormous impact. We wanted to communicate that all of us are not stuck with only negative choices and that there are thousands of better products on the market that have a smaller environmental footprint or make less of an impact. Additionally, as each of us demand better products with our hard earned money, industry responds with new and better products.

So how do you “shout it from the rooftops” to communicate this important message? We decided to create a video. We set out to tell a simple story -- but found that even a quick overview of sustainable purchasing turned out to be very challenging.

Sustainability is a balance between social, economic, and environmental issues. When our team first sat down to discuss the impacts that products have, we included everything from natural resource depletion and critical minerals, to child labor practices and wage inequity, to pollution and acid rain, to fossil fuel use and waste disposal. Our first video script ran 5+ minutes – too long and complex for the basic message we were trying to get across.

Our challenge was to simplify and deliver the message in an interesting graphic treatment. So after many script revisions, we condensed our main message into the video below.

We understand that awareness is only the first step. Our next step will be to produce a new video to guide purchasers through the often-confusing messaging around sustainable product attributes and provide the information they need to help make better decisions about the products they purchase.



Video not playing correctly? Use the direct link to the video on YouTube.

Want to learn more about the amazing facts about sustainability and our Earth in the video? Check out the Video References document.

Like more information on sustainable purchasing and procurement? Visit the Sustainable Supply Chain Information Hub of the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute, a research center of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability, Rochester Institute of Technology.

Mark Sniffen, a visual effects artist who helped create the great CGI images in our video, has a website that displays many of his rough designs and work-in-progress pictures from "small choices, Big Impact". Take a look here.





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