Recently I watched a documentary about food industry in the USA: Fed Up. The main theme in the documentary is about the amount of sugar and fat in typical processed food in the USA, leading to obesity. This might not be the typical subject when thinking about sustainability, but in a sense I thought it was. And that is for two reasons.
First of all, the effect on the consumers. The ingredients in processed food are often not known to the public and even less the effect it has. There is a huge amount of products advertising with low fat products. But without this fat, the product tastes horrible. So sugar is added to make consumers buy the products. -A side note; I was astounded by products that work this way. Even cranberry juice needs a ton of sugar before it is drinkable for the consumer apparently.- So low-sugar products have a ton of fat in them and vice versa. And this is all without the majority of the consumers knowing about this. Even if they know, there are apparently almost no 'real' replacements.
Even worse is the combination of these fattening products with a huge grow in gyms and personal assistants. Even worse is that companies producing said products are often supported by the gyms, to keep a steady flow of members. This leads me to the second reason.
The power of (this) industry and lack of political interest/power to change this. Apparently this industry is so powerful it can continue this way of making products, while this way is known. Of course this is how the market works; if people buy it, keep selling it. But when the government has a plan or initiative to try and change this all, to get healthier food to consumers, the meet a absolutely huge and powerful lobby which has no interest of changing this. I was astonished to hear fries are a vegetable (because it was a potato) and so is pizza (tomato-sauce on top).
Now this is part of the food industry, but I'm quite sure this also works for other industries like cleaner energy. When trying to change something to a more sustainable, healthier of just better system, which will cost income for the bigger companies, there is a huge lobby group which will try to counter the change out of fear for profit-loss. And there's probably not much to do about it because that's where the money is now. And it is only logic that there are people, powerful people, who want to keep it that way for more profit. This I find very regrettable, since it will probably delay many great initiatives and technologies.