Green economy  |  Successes  |  14.12.2011

Spacerownik – economy greened by conscious consumerism

Designed by a Polish NGO, Polish Green Network Spacerownik guides green-oriented consumers through sustainable businesses in four Polish cities. It is strictly linked to the philosophy of slow life and ideas of green economy. 

The guide, available in Polish and English, focuses on unique places, local values and describes rare professions. It explores places of conscious consumerism contingent upon organic food, alternative business models (barter, swaps), social economy, durability and fair trade. One can search for places, products and events within 17 categories, among others books, ecological cleaning, green services, educational space or gastronomy. 

Admission criteria involves high ethical and ecological standards, which provide entrepreneurs with incentives for green modernization and practical tips concerning thermal efficiency, cuts in the use of water, energy and packaging, switch to renewable energy and organic certificates. Editors of the guide evaluate also conformity with labour law and attention to manufacturing conditions with regard to people, animal rights and the environment. Another important factor is the contact with clients, openness and attentiveness to their special needs, e.g. facilities for children, elderly, people with disabilities and foreigners. Spacerownik supports niche markets and reduce- reuse -recycle thinking. By indicating places where one can repair or exchange things, it displays an alternative to traditional, limitless consumerism. It does not take into consideration corporate businesses, thus strengthening local and small-scale producers. 

Spacerownik is based on comments and opinions sent both by conscious consumers and entrepreneurs, as well as on the outcome of “Buy responsibly” campaign initiated by PZS in 2002. The guide benefits from such feedback, just as the whole society, because recognition among clients becomes a decisive factor for conducting business in a sustainable way. Some new places are reviewed by volunteers, who participate in the project to raise green awareness. It is also worth-mentioning that many places have changed their policies to adjust to green-related expectations. 

Spacerownik started in 2008 by publishing green must-sees in Warsaw and since then has been constantly enriching its databases, as well as the scope of action. On account of the success and growing concern over triple global crisis, Polish Green Network has published maps of Wrocław, Lublin and Cracow, with further expansion planned. Given the financial support, it is envisaged that the project will expand so as to describe places crucial for sustainable tourism. 

Spacerownik is an empowering tool, not least because bottom-up approach can remarkably foster transition towards green economy. Consumers’ comments and choices influence policies of companies which will have to position themselves on the market by providing fair trade, organic, local and traditional products in an environmentally-friendly way and creating decent working conditions. Care for nature has to be complemented by the principle of social economy – this is not only a prerequisite for Spacerownik, but for modern green economy in general. The earlier one acknowledges that these are the values of modern, sustainable economy, the better for the overall well-being and prosperity.

Opracowanie: zespół www.zielonyistytut.pl

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