This post is also available in: Español

In the major educational challenge of transitioning to a sustainable society, responsible consumption gains strategic relevance as there is wide agreement that consumerism is the main driving force behind economy and unsustainable practices.

Consumerism has pervaded almost all social classes, particularly in developing and highly developed countries, due to the exponential growth of productivity during the last seventy years.

Contrarily, responsible consumption is seen as the consciousness on the consequences that personal and mass consumption have on the world, such as cultural, socio-economic, and environmental crises.

Responsible consumption also involves critical consciousness, ethical assessment, and an enthusiastic stance that supports justice, global solidarity, and respect for nature but opposes companies with products and practices that go against those values. A behavior that is consistent with these attitudes leads to a voluntary austerity of materialistic desires, finding satisfaction in social relationships, arts, and nature, as well as living in a world free from utilitarianism.

For UANL, promoting responsible consumption among its community and the general public has a twofold purpose: to encourage commitment to an ethical and conscious lifestyle and to show people that adopting responsible consumption practices without compromising life quality is possible.

Responsible consumption means choosing products and services based not only on quality and price, but also on their socio-environmental impact as well as the corporations’ conduct and respect for human rights. This approach stems from the idea that besides filling a need, consumption also concerns the socio-economic and environmental processes of providing goods and services.

UANL seeks to become a touchstone of good practice for people by promoting fair trade of local and regional organic products among its members as established in Section 12 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted at the United Nations Summit on September 25, 2015.

Therefore, UANL’s main strategy to promote responsible consumption is to reduce the waste generated from its daily activities.

In 2015, our university implemented an institutional program consisting of the installation of two water purification plants and the CONECTA Project that supply water to the following 30 bottle filling stations across the Main Campus:

Plant 1 supplies water to the bottle filling stations at the Central Administration Tower, the School of Architecture, the School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, and the School of Civil Engineering (2 stations).

Plant 2 supplies water to the bottle filling stations at the Gaspar Mass Stadium (2 stations), the soccer field and locker rooms, the athletics track, the basketball court, and the indoor soccer facilities.

The CONECTA Project supplies water to the bottle filling stations in the School of Biology, the School of Chemistry, the School of Civil Engineering, the Afirme Bank, the University Bookstore (2 stations), the Metro Station (3 stations), the School of Accounting and Business Management, the Luis Eugenio Todd Gymnasium (3 stations), the University Aquatic Olympic Center, the Hundido baseball field, and the Raymundo Chico Rivera Stadium (3 stations).

During 2019, a total of 2,469,293 liters of water were consumed at these bottle filling stations, which represents a saving of approximately 4,938,586 plastic bottles of 500 milliliters.

Environmental and economic benefits are some of the results of this project. It prevents solid waste generation (PET bottles) and it has allowed saving more than 41,977,981.00 (MXN).


Furthermore, UANL is currently promoting the efficient use of paper and plastics to reduce their consumption, which has allowed an important decrease in waste generation. Some recommendations are detailed as follows:

  1. Reuse materials as much as possible before discarding.
  2. Email unofficial statements, memos, and documents to avoid unnecessary printing.
  3. Use blackboards or bulletin boards instead of sending paper announcements.
  4. Print in draft quality to save ink and make reusing easier.
  5. Edit documents in digital format to avoid using unnecessary paper.
  6. Organize collection drives of old books and notebooks.
  7. Use tableware at offices, meetings, and conferences to avoid using disposable products.
  8. Use electronic document management systems or platforms like Outlook to schedule meetings, conferences, and events, set reminders for all users, and request read receipts.
  9. Avoid drinking bottled water by using flasks or any personal reusable container
  10. Use tableware and sell drinks in glass bottles at UANL cafeterias.