At the base of any effective transaction, is an exchange of value. In businesses, we often consider it to be an exchange of products for a certain amount of money. However, we often fail to see the big picture, mostly because the lack of transparency in the business world. Let’s try to reveal some of the hidden costs, shall we?
The Hidden Costs of Products
The money we paid for a product is not the only cost enticed to it. There are hidden costs throughout the product life cycle, from mining, manufacturing, usage and eventual disposal. Just because a product is cheap, doesn’t mean the cost is actually lower. We might have to pay for it a different way. For instance, a portable chair I bought online for a “real bargain” that broke after being used several times. Not only do I have to purchase a new one, it could’ve also cause injuries that lead to medical costs. Lesson learned!
But expensive items do not guarantee that a product is free of hidden costs! More often than not, our planet is the one paying that cost. In fact, the process of converting metal ores and fossil fuels into the household and electronic devices we use daily contributes to 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. To make matters worse, the production of these multi-billion companies often takes place in developing countries where the regulations are less strict and having underpaid workers pay the cost.
It doesn’t end there, because the next step is disposal and we’ve all heard the horror stories of piling waste that creates a floating island of trash, right? How much does it cost our environment and how much is the cost of cleaning it up?
Hidden Values of Products
Now let’s flip the coin. Sure, there are a lot of hidden costs that perhaps could make us lose faith in businesses. But as these issues are raised, more efforts are made by governments, companies, and individuals to do better.
Through the G20 summit (led by Indonesia this year!) countries around the world commits to “Recover Together Stronger”, focusing on global health, digital transformation and sustainable energy transition. Corporations are taking more attention on CSR programs, thanks to heightened awareness, tighter regulations, and pressure from customers. Small businesses are no small players in fighting for the environment. Like us, many are providing consumers with more sustainable options through their products.
Kayu&Co. artisans utilise discarded teak wood collected from their surroundings and give them new life. Each large dustpan saves 1kg of woods. With 100 sales of our dustpan, we have saved 100kg of wood end up in landfill and 100kg of new wood logging. In addition to that, we also provides local artisans with a safe environment to work. We are not perfect but each time we are reminded of our responsibility as a business in this current climate and tries to improve for our customers.
As an individual, we may not be able to make a shift in regulation or create a breakthrough environment-saving innovation (never say never tho? 😉 But we could do something every day through simple daily practices like bringing our own water bottle, re-using jars, gardening, purchasing sustainable ethical products and of course raising awareness about the hidden costs and values of our purchase.