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If companies stick with current resource-hungry business models, this is an impossible task. But confronting the challenge of ever-increasing consumption is the elephant in the boardroom. It is uncomfortable and ignored because traditionally companies have focused on selling more stuff to more people.
So what will convince companies to move past business as usual? How can they embrace the unprecedented innovation required to meet customer needs in tomorrow’s markets without simply selling more stuff?
A first step toward solving the dilemma of unchecked consumption is to do the math. Even a simple back-of-the-envelope analysis can help determine the size of a company’s or sector’s unique challenge. Take these three steps to evaluate your business’s risks in tomorrow’s markets and discover opportunities for new business models.
Step 1: Complete a Life Cycle Assessment
In recent years, companies have turned to life cycle assessments (LCAs) to identify where their products have the greatest environmental impacts. This helps companies focus on interventions that will have the largest benefits in the supply chain, whether it be material extraction, manufacturing, delivery, product use or disposal.
There are guidelines, software, a UN Environment-hosted advisory forum and LCA consultant services to help companies conduct these assessments. Increasingly, industries use LCAs not only to evaluate their environmental impact, but to reduce business costs, improve corporate image and shape product development.
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