Change arrows by geralt on Pixabay

Cradle to Cradle: A Manufacturing Vision

Change is constant and as the world develops in technological advancement, it is important to embrace that change with nature too. While it’s not feasible (unless we disassociate with civilisation completely) to avoid every damaging company or unsettling process that creates the commodities in our daily lives, we can learn, replace and think more responsibly about the businesses we want to support. 

To meet the 2050 Paris Agreement target, each country involved must instigate change in industry, agriculture, infrastructure, travel and power. While initially it will cost billions of pounds to replace an entire economic structure, improved trade balance and higher economic growth are guaranteed in such a shift. Those billions are better spent on supporting that shift than being used on damage control for climate change disasters. While company and government policies transition,  people can support those approaching the Cradle to Cradle (C2C) way of life every day. This established model is an ambitious and biometrical framework that replaces the consume and discard cycle. C2C companies imitate and embrace the cycle of nature instead of continuing on a path of creating destructive toxic waste. 

While the model seeks to work better with nature, it does not discard humanity’s electronic and technological development, it embraces it just as our current way of life but in a different way. Vast quantities of materials are ending up in landfills or furnaces with our continued consumerist culture. Through the more holistic and economically advantageous way of Cradle to Cradle, we can optimise our resources and become waste free. This means utilising technology and nature.

Products and companies becoming C2C certified grows a circular economy which maximises health and well-being for people and the planet. A report from December 2020 by McKinsey and Company (the world’s leading management consultancy) has revealed its road map for Poland to become net-zero by 2050. [1] The report outlines that radical lifestyle change is not that radical: in tackling decarbonisation, we should shift from using and eating animal products, travel sensibility and personally embrace sustainable living but mostly, we need to invest in the change of our infrastructural landscape. [1]

Let’s rethink by geralt on Pixabay
Let’s rethink by geralt on Pixabay

We can choose to do this by looking into the production of what we buy and managing our consumerism. Are we buying something unnecessary? Is it single use or for a superficial purpose? Are we contributing to wealth inequality, modern slavery and plastic pollution? Reflecting on the words of business magnate Jeff Bezos, after celebrating his tour of space, “I also want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all of this.” [1] It begs the question, what do you want to pay for besides the product?

In looking into the production of our textiles alone, which has doubled in the past twenty years due to fast fashion, we can see if a company is C2C certified like Teemill | Sell T-Shirts Online.  With a critical gaze into manufacturing and industry, we can look for alternatives that promote a sharing economy; this is often where online platforms connect buyers and sellers. While regulative uncertainty is an issue, with more collaboration better performance can be facilitated. Familiar sharing economy companies – Uber, Etsy and Airbnb – are now worth billions. While sharing economy businesses are better for the environment and are a better model of sustainability and sharing resources, ultimately, community-based and Cradle to Cradle alternatives are worth investing in. 

Consideration of the manufacturing, resources and impact our consumerist habits have on the world should be a part of our daily lifestyle. It is worth contemplating where our money is going, how it is being spent and questioning who really benefits from it in the end. How are we best investing in ourselves if not for a dynamic and flourishing future?

[1]  Jeff Bezos criticised by Amazon workers and customers after thanking them for funding space launch | The Independent

Shivany Ria

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