We are currently using the equivalent of 1.5 planet’s worth of environmental goods and services to support all of our human activities, according to WWF’s 2012 Living Planet report issued a few weeks ago. Furthermore the report states that: “Business as usual” projections estimate that we will need the equivalent of two planets by 2030 to meet our annual demands.
WWF does not suggest we find other planets. Rather, the report points to the pragmatic solution of reducing our footprint by producing more with less, and consuming better, wiser and less. They offer a five-step approach that could be a blue print for the Rio+20 debates later this month: preserve natural capital, produce better (more efficiently), consume more wisely, redirect financial flows (away from destructive and towards regenerative actives) and govern resources equitably.
Business’s role is to make more with less and innovate business models as well as product design. How can companies create value without requiring the through-put, e.g. production and sale, of endlessly “more stuff”?
Business model innovation is critical. Without it, we’ll have endless economic pressure to keep making and consuming more stuff – and we will simply start running out of natural resources and ecosystem functions. In addition to clean water, air, fertile soils and resilient ecosystems, it is worth the effort to ensure that our planet remains majestic and full of fuzzy creatures, like the WWF report reminds us that it does.