Focus Corner

What if?

April 1st, 2009 by   (View Author Profile)

What if we built restorative companies?

What would happen if a company put back more natural resources into the natural environment than it takes from it in the first place?

What if the water coming out of a factory was of better quality than the water going in?

What if companies treated waste streams as food for the industrial process?

What if companies were not only financially successful but ecologically successful into the bargain?

What if industrial processes copied natural processes as is the case in biomimicry?

Not possible you say! Well it’s all possible. Think of the idea of the restorative company as one which gives back more good than it takes. Think of the idea of waste as food for example, essentially using the waste from one industrial process as the raw material for another industrial process. An example of this in nature is decaying matter which has reached the end of its useful life and is used as food by say, worms for example, and the worms in turn are used to aerate the soil or feed another organism. A cycle like this could be referred to as closed-loop and the net impact to the natural world is zero. Why? Because the relationship is symbiotic rather than parasitic.

There’s also a real opportunity to explore the idea of clustering of symbiotic companies which use raw materials from one process as raw material for the next and where the end consumer also has an opportunity to be involve in the the closed-loop cycle, perhaps recycling the material back to the original manufacturer as a means of closing the loop. This would produce restorative systems and companies with the ultimate goal of having a net zero impact or net contributors of global good.

What would happen if we could only design industrial systems that produced clean or zero emissions? What would happen if the water coming out of the industrial pipe was clean rather than bound for wastewater treatment?

What would happen if we built restorative companies and adhered to sustainable principles? It mightn’t be all that bad…

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