We mass produce.
Let’s break things down to fundamental principles.
Let’s try to imagine a life without consumer products. Well, we would be naked and living in caves like the Neanderthals! Isn’t it indeed the ability to manipulate the world around us and create new tools and artefacts that make us humans?
Products, as artefacts, help us deal with the hard nature that surrounds us. However, it is not just that; indeed, they carry in themselves intrinsic meanings that go beyond the pure utilitarian functions marketers try to sell us. Products are the direct manifestation of our culture, dreams, and aspirations.
It’s a frame from the 60’s; whether it is a Chanel bag inspired by equestrian riding or a pair of shoes for running, all of them satisfy us functionally and emotionally.
Industrialisation has created prosperity, and has ultimately given us access to an unlimited supply of products; whether necessary or unnecessary, they fulfil our lives and perhaps delight our souls, at least on this side of the planet.
Still, a billion people do not have access to essential life commodities, such as shelter, fresh food, and water while others live a disposable lifestyle with abundance and waste.
We mass-produce things people do not need with resources we do not have in order to fulfil a declining economic model, which is denying our primary human capital in favour of inequality and self-obsessed values.
Who is responsible for this? How can we systematically change the current production and distribution of consumer goods and evolve as a species to live in a more sustainable ecosystem?
Organisations, consumers, and creative leaders play a fundamental role in this transition by being the first responsible stakeholders, investors, and catalysers of a more sustainable market.
What you buy as a consumer matter, as your purchases affect the global economy and local communities inevitably. Simply put, buying from a brand is like expressing a vote for the future of humanity, and indeed, we all do it every day at least once.
On the other hand, with no exceptions, organisations, manufacturers and service providers with their activities impact life and the environment on this planet irreparably.
A question emerges and becomes clear: How do we sustain all of this, evolve, and envision a new way to manufacture and distribute primary goods on a global scale without sacrificing our current lifestyle? Also, how can organisations still innovate, creating great products that improve and empower people’s lives without polluting our planet and wasting precious resources?
The challenge, for the magnitude, can be paralysing and overwhelming.
On the other hand, favourably, a new economic order is emerging, enabled by new technologies and brand-new infrastructure where energy is set to be free. Ubiquitous communication and transportation systems will connect us faster virtually and physically and where machines can do the heavy lifting for us while we focus on social activities and leisure.
In this context, consumers and organisations need to embrace a new mindset that supports the development of a smart, sustainable society that is built on top of this new infostructure. Therefore, we need different organisations designed from the ground up to serve this purpose and not just to rethink the actual goods they design, engineer, and produce.
In other words, we should build the machine that makes the tools that make the products we buy and consume.
For a sustainable society, we intend the one that operates in a healthy ecosystem that balances cultural, natural, human, and economic assets evenly by making it central to the success of an organisation. Therefore, success shouldn’t be measured through profit only, but by the impact those organisations have on global communities. We should celebrate the companies that redistribute wealth, not the ones that accumulate it.
Three main stakeholders emerge among others as the enablers of change: the consumers, the organisations, and the creative leaders.
In fact, for the first, by informing consumers about the footprint of the brands they love and by empowering them with tools to purchase confidently, sustainable goods can drastically help regulate the impact companies have. We can promote or destroy brands in a matter of days if we act as a conscious global community of consumers.
Moreover, enabling organisations with a tangible new vision of the future that promotes sustainability not as a greenwashing activity but as a competitive advantage can still let companies fulfil the market with great product solutions, without negatively impacting the environment we inhabit.
Surprisingly, sustainable companies have proven to outperform others in the long term. However, the ruthless competition forces businesses to go to market at any costs by sacrificing resources, culture, and people’s lives. Well, it turns out, like in nature, that unhealthy organisms deteriorate without those substantive resources and can no longer sustain themselves. Therefore, companies with no long-term sustainable goals, whether startups or established enterprises, risk failing.
Ultimately, by equipping the leading creators of consumer goods (executives, designers, engineers, entrepreneurs) on concepts such as circular economy, design for sustainability, transparency, organisational design, and overall on what is the impact of their decisions on society can drive a positive feedback loop in the right direction.
In this vicious cycle, organisations should compete for the impact they create on communities and copy each other on sustainable activities, not on products.
The agenda becomes imperative for all, and a new form of organisations needs to emerge to fulfil this vision, as inarguably the current system is corrupted and not any more sustainable.
We see a possible world where consumers can access high-quality products made just in time, locally manufactured, individually customised all in full transparency. In this world, urban retail factories powered by clean energy can produce on-demand goods for their customers with renewable materials, no waste and cost-effectively. It’s a world where our kids can grow, learn, and prosper without worrying about an uncertain future.
Genuine Is an organisation and platform designed to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable way to produce and distribute goods locally and globally.
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