Consumer Education
As with issues of citizenship and health, consumer education is a key cross-curricular theme for student learning. Traditionally, consumer education was seen as the study of prudent shopping habits, family budgeting, and ways of avoiding advertising and credit traps. However, consumerism touches on all aspects of daily life in the modern world and might be seen as a core value in the North and, increasingly, throughout the South as well. Indeed, mass consumption is now entrenched as one of the key defining processes of economic and social life around the world in contrast with the values of sustainability that are characteristic of indigenous communities. Chapter 4 of Agenda 21 (the UN action plan for sustainable development) identified unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, especially in industrialized countries, as “the major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment”. Agenda 21 goes on to say that this is “a matter of grave concern” because “the basic consumer needs of a large section of humanity are not being met” and “the excessive demands and unsustainable lifestyles among the more affluent segments … place immense stress on the environment.” Accordingly, Agenda 21 encourages governments in the North to take a leading role in promoting sustainable patterns of consumption through policies that:
– encourage efficiency in production patterns;
– reduce wasteful consumption in the process of economic growth; and
– encourage a shift to more sustainable patterns of production and consumption, taking into account the development needs of developing countries.
In this way, Agenda 21 heralded a new approach to consumer education, aligning it with health, citizenship and environmental education as part of the reorientation of education towards sustainability. This module explores key issues in consumerism as a part of contemporary life. It also analyses the issues of social, economic and ecological sustainability raised by consumerism, ways in which the impacts of consumption can be reduced, and ways in which issues such as these can be integrated across-the-curriculum.
Consumer education trainings are designed:
– to analyze patterns, causes and impacts of global and personal patterns of consumption;
– to appreciate the ethical dimension of reducing the social and ecological impacts of consumption;
– to appreciate the importance of changing the patterns and impacts of consumption;
– to identify principles of sustainable consumption; and
– to analyze examples of educational activities and programmes aimed at encouraging sustainable consumption and identify ways of integrating principles and examples of education for sustainable consumption across the school curriculum.
Adapted from www.unesco.org


Ex. 1 Find the words or expressions in the text which mean the following:

1) sth that happens regularly many times: __________
2) huge: __________
3) using resources in a good way: __________
4) creating much garbage, refuse: __________
5) not past and not future: __________
6) an influence of sth: __________
7) a rule of sth: __________
8) to see the value of sth: __________
9) everyday existence: ___________
10)established strongly: __________
11)to think about sth as an option: __________
12)more than 50 per cent: _________


Ex. 2 Match the expressions from the two columns into logical collocations:

1. a cross-curricular                                  value
2. prudent                                                  traps
3. family                                                     development
4. credit                                                      grave concern
5. a core                                                      budgeting
6. mass                                                       communities
7. indigineous                                           theme
8. sustainable                                           countries
9. industrialized                                      consumption
10. a matter of                                         shopping habits


Ex. 3 Provide English equivalents of these expressions:

1) obywatelstwo
2) pogorszenie
3) wygórowane żądania
4) kraje rozwijające się
5) przyczyna czegoś
6) wymiar etyczny czegoś
7) kraje uprzemysłowione
8) spełniać czyjeś potrzeby
9) zamożny
10) wiodąca rola
11) polityka
12) kluczowe kwestie

Grammar corner…

In the text you’ve found some really useful Business English grammar, i.e. Passive Voice, i.e. not talking about who did what but what was done (sometimes leaving out who did it). You have to admit it’s a very useful skill in business:-). The whole philosophy is to use the verb „to be” in the right tense form and the THIRD form of the verb. All you need to do is remind yourself how to say „to be” in different tenses, e.g. Present Simple: was/were, Present Continuous: was/were being, Present Perfect: has been, Present Perfect Continuous: has been being, Future Simple: will be, Future Continuous: will be being, etc.


Ex. 4 Write in the Passive.

1. Toy manufacturers face strict criteria. =>
2. They are printing the invites as we speak. =>
3. They have just announced her resignation. =>
4. They have been developing this product for three years now. =>
5. They will finish it on time, I assure you. =>
6. This time next week they will be putting the finishing touches on it. =>



a pattern  – trend / wzór
immense  – ogromny
efficiency  – efektywność / skuteczność
wasteful  – nieekonomiczny / marnotrawny
contemporary –  współczesny
an impact of sth  – wpływ czegoś
a principle of sth  – zasada czegoś
to appreciate sth  – doceniać coś
daily life  – życie codzienne
sth is entrenched as sth  – coś jest ugruntowane jako
to take sth into account –  wziąć coś pod uwagę
major  – główny
a cross-curricular theme  – temat obejmujący wiele dziedzin
prudent shopping habits –  roztropne nawyki konsumenckie
family budgeting  – planowanie budżetu rodzinnego
credit traps –  pułapki kredytowe
a core value  – wartość przewodnia / główna
mass consumption –  masowa konsumpcja
indigenous communities  – społeczności autochtoniczne
sustainable development  – zrównoważony rozwój
industrialized countries  – kraje uprzemysłowione
a matter of grave concern  – sprawa najwyższej wagi
citizenship  – obywatelstwo
deterioration  – pogorszenie
excessive demands  – wygórowane żądania
developing countries  – kraje rozwijające się
a cause of sth  – przyczyna czegoś
to meet sb’s needs  – spełniać czyjeś potrzeby
affluent  – zmożny
a leading role  – wiodąca rola
a policy –  polityka
key issues –  kluczowe kwestie
refuse –  odpady
the ethical dimension of sth  – etyczny wymiar czegoś


download lesson (pdf)



Ex. 1
1) a pattern
2) immense
3) efficiency
4) wasteful
5) contemporary
6) an impact of sth
7) a principle of sth
8) to appreciate sth
9) daily life
10)sth is entrenched as sth
11)to take sth into account
Ex. 2
1) a cross-curricular theme
2) prudent shopping habits
3) family budgeting
4) credit traps
5) a core value
6) mass consumption
7) indigenous communities
8) sustainable development
9) industrialized countries
10)a matter of grave concern
Ex. 3
1) citizenship
2) deterioration
3) excessive demands
4) developing countries
5) a cause of sth
6) the ethical dimension of sth
7) industrialized countries
8) to meet sb’d needs
9) affluent
10)a leading role
11)a policy
12) key issues
Ex. 4
1) Toy manufacturers are faced with strict criteria.
2) The invites are being printed as we speak.
3) Her resignation has just been announced.
4) This product has been being developed for 3 years now.
5) It will be finished on time, I assure you.
6) This time next week, finishing touches will be being put on it.