Who is responsible for sustainability?

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Tina Haubert
Jones Lang LaSalle

Who has the responsiblity for a sustainable environment? That was the question posed at the Executive Roundtable of BOMA. I thought it was a great and complicated question, particularly as it relates to products that we buy. In my opinion, it’s everyone’s responsiblity at the end of the day but it starts with the product developer and extends through the chain. But precisely, who is responsible for what and is the responsiblity equal??

At another master speaker session, the scientist discussed the case of certain flame-retardants used in many household applications including baby clothes, that were eventually pulled from the market because the chemicals were proved to increase breast cancer fivefold in the infants who wore them. Who failed to catch this before it became a problem? The federal government had rules requiring flame-retardant materials but had not included a ban on the cancer-causing chemicals. The manufacturers may or may not have known about the threat. Consumers had no idea that what they were buying to protect their infants from fire had a side affect that was, in some minds, equally as dangerous.

So, what’s your answer: Do you think it’s the consumer? the manufacturer? the product developer? the government? or some combination?

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