Companies must stop ignoring the problem of consumption
Companies must stop ignoring the problem of consumption.
The World Resource Institute calls it "the elephant in the room" and says businesses need to ask tough questions about their economic models.
Over the past two decades, businesses have come a long way in their conversations about sustainability and climate change.
What was once an unknown or avoided term has become part of mainstream corporate-talk.
Many companies now have strategies for reducing emissions, implementing renewable energy, and mitigating deforestation and water pollution.
In a new report, the WRI calls on businesses to face the hard truth about consumption: “Most businesses’ growth is still predicated on more people buying more goods.
The world will have more than 9 billion people by 2050, and the middle class will have swelled by 3 billion by 2030.
A continuation of business as usual would mean not just a slight additional strain, but three times as much consumption of the planet’s already overused resources.” This topic tends to be avoided in corporate boardrooms because it challenges the traditional business model that has proven so economically successful; but the WRI argues that a transition to alternative models of providing goods and services to consumers is inevitable.
It’s better for companies to get on board with this now, to start exploring and innovating, to figure out ways of “delinking from increasing resource and environmental impact,” than to be irrelevant and outdated with the inevitable arrival of more transformational companies in the near future.
The WRI’s paper makes three recommendations as a starting point for businesses to become aware of resource limitations: 1.