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The sheer volume of consumption is overwhelming Earth’s living systems

Mankind is killing this planet with over-consumption: the seas are dying, we are seeing the worst storms since records began, the ice caps are melting and major cities will be flooded within decades. Yet consumption keeps accelerating. If you want your business and/or your family life to continue as it is today, new ways of doing business and living are needed.

Replacement technology is not enough

George Monbiot, the Guardian’s columnist and scourge of loose thinking, writes in the Guardian today that “We won’t save the Earth with a better kind of disposable coffee cup.” He makes the point that replacing the plastic cups at coffee shops with corn starch would have huge implications: “how much land would be needed to grow it, or how much food production it would displace. They overlooked the damage this cultivation would inflict: growing corn (maize) is notorious for causing soil erosion, and often requires heavy doses of pesticides and fertilisers.” This is not where the long term solution lies, thinking that a better/more sustainable solution will be found. New thinking is needed.

He argues that: “The right question is, “How should we live?” 

But he feels that systemic thinking is an endangered species. He is right, of course, but it is difficult and goes against much of what we do automatically, e.g. most think that the solution to the plastic age is to develop a better way to re-recycle plastic, but this won’t solve the problem. David Katz, founder and CEO of The Plastic Bank, points out that the first action when a bath is overflowing is NOT to mop up the spillage, which is what plastic recycling represents. To tackle the plastic flood, what we must do is to TURN OFF THE TAP.

Systemic thinking needed in corporate treasury

Mankind needs key players to use their role, their influence to systematically think through new solutions, new business models that are needed to slow and stop the destruction of our planet. Corporate treasury has a vital role here.

What would be your ’turn off the tap’ actions required in corporate treasury to help change how we do business and save our planet?

CTMfile take: Everyone has responsibility here. As Monbiot points out, “Disposable coffee cups made from new materials are not just a non-solution: they are a perpetuation of the problem. Defending the planet means changing the world.”

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This item appears in the following sections:
Best Practices & Benchmarking
Control & Compliance in Operations

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