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Dinner with Michael Braungart

Yesterday the Association of Dutch Management Consulting Firms (www.roa-advies.nl) organized a lecture and dinner with Michael Braungart, author of Cradle2Cradle. I happened to sit next to him during dinner.

His message is clear: stop with Guilt Management now. It doesn’t help to be less bad. As human beings (instead of human resources or even worse human capital) we will always emit CO2: “Even if you kill yourself you will emit CO2, so you better don’t.” Carbon neutral is not possible and everyone who says this to you says: “You better don’t exist.” The world is not overpopulated, we’re just not smart enough: the biomass of Ants is 4 times bigger than the biomass of all human beings. Sustainability is boring, life is too short to be bored

The alternative: instead of being efficient we must become more effective. All products must be designed in a way that they will break down in nature (wrapping of icecream that you can throw in nature because it will break down in a few hours and contains seeds) or will be returned to the supplier at the end of its lifetime. We don’t buy a television anymore but we buy the service of 10.000 hours watching TV. After 10.000 hours you return the TV to the supplier and buy a new (and improved) service.

He concluded with a cry from his heart to help him realize his vision. There are already a lot of products designed this way, there are young technicians who want to design according to the C2C principles but we have little time left. He wants to leave a big footprint.

I read the book a few years ago. One of the first steps is to influence the CEO’s. The U process might be of help. Within Cordes we’ll organize a meeting December 18 to bring our ideas further and explore how we can help him, our clients and the world.

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