It is always kind of the sad part to put the figures on the table and hear about all the problems that are caused by human activity. Nevertheless it is important to get a reminder from time to time as many of those issues are hidden somewhere in the background and not always so easy to spot. Since I’m studying the CS program those issues became kind of common knowledge to me and I always assume that everybody else is aware of those problems as well, but that is actually not the case and therefore spreading the information is a good thing to do.
Whenever we are talking with a business perspective in mind, even though it is a sustainability conscious business mind, we are always asking how we can fulfill people’s needs in a more efficient way, but I think this is already where the problem starts. Sufficiency needs to go hand in hand with our efficiency efforts but at the moment we are almost entirely focused on the efficiency side. Further sufficiency would need to be practiced from the consumption as well as production side and this is where I come back to fulfilling people’s needs. Maybe in some cases we should stop asking how we could fulfill needs in another more efficient way but rather ask ourselves whether we should aim at fulfilling a need at all. The problem on the business side is that whenever there is an opportunity, an unfulfilled need, someone will take the spot and thereby power the vicious cycle of follow-up needs. When being asked whether I think that the individual has to change or the system, I always reply ‘both’. But I think that especially this case shows that at least the starting point is located more on the individual side to later embrace the system. On the other hand though, I really liked Linus comment that a company could produce a product or offer a service that leads to less overall consumption. This could be an indirect way to support sufficiency efforts. We always see competition and the hunt for opportunities in our economic paradigm as a threat for ecological and social sustainability. But maybe there is a way to direct competition in a certain direction and make use of it. Those thoughts again let me hope that the system might find a common denominator with our vision of sustainability. I am really interested in the relationship of sufficiency and marketing and even though this is supposed to be one of the limits I believe that there is a quantum theory of gravitation for this relationship.
Regarding the second part of the session I really liked the impact matrix as a tool to analyze the impact of certain products throughout their lifecycle. And I also think that it might be a good starting point for working the way backwards. After filling the matrix you can identify the most significant impact areas. You pick one and ask yourself what could be done to bring the impact in this area to a lower level. Possible solutions could be worked out and further the change in benefits for the consumer and the new cost structure. By working out those alternatives and comparing them I believe better solutions can be found to certain problem areas of the lifecycle. Also I think that by taking a closer look and focusing on specific areas and their limitations creativity gets stimulated which would lead to better solutions for consumer and environment.