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A difficult discussion - but one the industry must have.

Daniel Kirmatzis

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The images coming out of Australia are devastating and unprecedented. The fires consuming the country are not normal and neither are the increasingly extreme weather patterns of recent years. The earth's climate is in rapid transition and our reactions to it must be accelerated. Every industry has a responsibility to act and the status quo that has seen us through the previous industrial revolutions cannot be the model for the future.

The 2020s will be characterised by demands for businesses to accelerate their sustainability efforts. Environmental movements across the world are starting to impact the ways we collectively think about consumption. It is highly likely that future consumers will demand more visibility of the impact manufactured goods are having on the environment and a natural corollary of which will be closer scrutiny of the carbon footprint of the businesses making these goods.

Consumer attitudes are leading to major shifts in certain areas already, from supermarkets abandoning plastic bags for collecting fruit and vegetables to the move away from fast fashions and towards a more recycled wardrobe approach. The consumer of the future is going to want less stuff - indeed we are likely to see a return to a make-do-and-mend generation who will make the products they do have last longer. They are also more likely to take a rental model approach rather than out-right ownership of products. This isn't some far-flung Wellsian vision of the future but is already happening right now.

So how do manufacturers react to these issues? They are going to impact them and their businesses directly so a conversation needs to be had now about how to adapt and survive. The world cannot afford the industry to ignore these issues and they cannot be left to corporations with larger cash-flows either. Whilst other demanding issues are hugely important to the short-term survival of manufacturing businesses, the complete reshaping of our world through climate change will be far worse for the industry if it doesn't take collective action to address it's environmental footprint.

I am really keen to hear your thoughts on this and particularly to share real-world examples of how your businesses are reducing their environmental impacts. Sharing good practice is a good start to addressing these issues together. Please share your thoughts.


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