Switzerland

Sustainable consumption

Disseminate knowledge and practical tips to encourage responsible shopping - CLEVER!

Project

The Biovision project “Sustainable Consumption” seeks to make the Swiss population, particularly the young, more aware of the impact of their own patterns of consumption on the health of humans, animals and the environment. It is doing this through a range of different channels of communication such as the travelling exhibition “CLEVER – playful intelligent shopping”, the online shopping game “CLEVER Online”, project days at schools and colleges and a CLEVER stand for use at events. Using concrete examples, actual and virtual visitors learn how their personal shopping habits can help sustainable development in the world, allowing them to make a personal contribution to the “Sustainable Development Goals” (Agenda 2030) of the United Nations.

Vroni Straub, Zug city councillor and Lars Weibel, former professional ice hockey player and now SRF hockey correspondent scan their purchases.

Relevance

Day in, day out, we make decisions on what to buy. At first glance, such decisions may seem insignificant but if we look at the bigger picture we find that they are crucial to both humans and the environment. The project “Sustainable Consumption” takes specific examples of products available in Swiss supermarkets and shows how to shop sustainably. Consumers learn how to change their shopping habits and so make a contribution to Agenda 2030.

The “Sustainable Consumption” project is in line with the Biovision strategy until 2020 and is part of the new programme in Switzerland “Responsibility for implementing Agenda 2030”.

Beneficiaries

In 2017, a total of 7,148 people visited CLEVER, which equates to an average visitor number per day of 60. We, therefore, exceeded our target of 50 visitors per day. Interest was high, particularly in Lucerne, at ETH and on the CLEVER stands. The shopping game and the individual support given to visitors are the major plus points of this exhibition - unique in Switzerland. It does, however, make the events more time-consuming and limits the number of visitors per day. We are prepared to accept lower visitor numbers compared with other exhibitions because in contrast the quality of our offer is much higher.

In 2017, the website “CLEVER Online” recorded a total of 29,949 sessions by 25,776 different users, more than double compared with the previous year (2016: 14,388 session, 11,180 users).

“Buy seasonal and regional products” is one of our five golden shopping rules. In order to support those who wanted to participate, we produced our own seasonal calendar in 2017 and some 48,000 copies (in German/French) were distributed during the year. They proved very popular and so we shall be offering our visitors something similar this year to take home with them.

Indirect beneficiaries are the producers of goods available in Switzerland that are produced in an ecological and fair way.

Objectives of current project phase

As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, the Biovision project “Sustainable Consumption” continues to highlight practical ways in which our own shopping patterns can support sustainable development, allowing each and every one of us to make a contribution to “Agenda 2030”. Consumers still lack sufficient knowledge in this area, particularly when it comes to food. It is this gap that the project seeks to close.

The exhibition and the online shopping game remain important parts of the project. We are currently updating the exhibition boards and the website (product range, background information). Work to update the assessment system is nearing completion and the revised system will be applied to the evaluation of all products. To supplement these activities, we plan to take the CLEVER stand to various events, give lectures, take part in project weeks in schools, train teaching staff and develop the content of the new domestic programme.

Achievements

The travelling exhibition CLEVER first opened in late summer 2011 at Zurich Zoo and since then it has visited various locations in German-speaking Switzerland during the summer months. Since 2015, we have regularly taken the CLEVER stand to events. To date (as at the end of the 2017 season), some 56,000 people had visited CLEVER at 18 different locations.

In 2015, we developed the “CLEVER Online” website with its online shopping game. The website is the perfect complement to the exhibition. The online offer specifically ties in with the exhibition and allows those who have visited it to obtain further information. It also allows us to reach people and groups who are unable to visit our exhibition.

Sustainability

The project helps consumers understand the global impact of their personal shopping habits and so understand that they too have a responsibility. If we are to move to a more sustainable world, we all have a role to play, i.e. not only politicians, industry and science but also individual consumers. It may appear that our personal decisions have no impact but that is not true. Each time we buy or not buy something, we are sending a message and products that are no longer in demand will eventually be discontinued. If you buy products that are made in an ecological and fair way, you are contributing in the longer term to the change in the course of global agriculture that Biovision is seeking.