Sustainability Blog

Sustainability Blog

Opinions expressed on this blog reflect the writer’s views and not the position of the Capgemini Group

Musings on Sustainable economy, Transparency & Individual privacy (part 1)

Category : General

Part 1 – Sustainable Economy - Idealism or Realism?

Many people would still say I am an idealist and I should get my head out of the clouds and my feet firmly back on the ground. Be realistic, people say, that’s not how the real world works. I used to stubbornly embrace the label of being an idealist, but I’ve come to realize that this is not correct at all. I am a firm believer in both the necessity and the possibility of achieving a true sustainable economy.

Whether you believe in man’s impact on climate change or not, nobody can really deny the fact that our current system is stapled on the idea to consume as much as possible and as cheap as possible without really taking into account the consequences.

With the economic crisis of the last few years many have realized that the current (largely ‘Neo liberalistic’) system is not working the way many had expected it to work, namely that it would produce a more efficient government and improve the economic health of society and all its aspects. Opinions differ as to what exactly the causes are. Is it too much politics or too little, is it the Financial / Banking industry, the IMF, Capitalism itself? I say it’s both none and all of the above. They are all under influence of the way our current system works, which is aimed at the idea that a company or industry is only healthy when it grows. And thus all organizations, enterprises, governments and individuals are pushed to always aim for more, more, more, whether they have the actual means to pay for it or not.

Now there’s the rub. Why on earth would we think endless growth is needed or even realistic? Isn’t that the real unachievable thought? If you keep blowing air into it at an ever growing rate, at some point the balloon will burst. On the other hand, in keep with the analogy, as the surface of the balloon is slightly porous air flows out over time. The rate of this deflation is dictated by the mixture of components of the air blown into it. So, if the air flowing in can be seen as a mixture of all types of resources (capital, materials, people) and air flowing out as various types of waste of used or unused resources we can see that putting in the right mix is a crucial factor in preventing the balloon from bursting or deflating too fast. We can’t do this if it is left without some form of supervision and thus the balloon needs to be tied to a strong base that prevents it from flying out of our control and allows us to regulate the best mixture of air flowing in and out, thus reducing or preventing the influence of negative externalities.

This is why I believe a sustainable economy is the more healthy and realistic system we should strive for. We should try to turn about some of the aspects in the current system that increase the risks of it failing altogether and recognize that now it is time to push it to the next level of maturity.

Continued in part 2 here...

About the author

Esther van Bergen
Esther van Bergen
As IT Sustainability Strategy consultant Esther is currently a coordinator for Capgemini’s Green IT services and a core member of Capgemini’s Global Sustainability Network. She actively pursues cross-expertise collaboration and coordinates the Green IT Community of Practice (a variety of activities). In her roles Esther always considers the detail vs. the bigger picture and enjoys playing ‘devils advocate’ where needed. She believes communication is the make or break factor for success in IT, business and life in general. Her background and experience in Communications, Process Improvement, (IT) Governance and her broad and holistic understanding of sustainability is of added value to anything she undertakes. Esther has a clear vision about the role of sustainability, both now and in the future (such as use of technology in transformation to a Circular Economy and closed-loop processes, conservation efforts, Smart City concepts etc.). She is particularly enjoys working on strategic and innovative ideas that bring together people, process and technology to help realize tangible results for the both the organization, community and the environment (Triple Bottom Line).

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