But, these are not easy assessments. The ecological backpsck concept helps. It creates one measure for the total amount of materials that go into producing a product or service.
There’s some obvious wins here as society changes. It takes two and a half times less material to download music versus buying the equivalent CD. And some rather staggering numbers. A ten gram wedding ring has a five tonne backpack.
For business, as the Harvard Business Review highlights this month: societal needs, not just conventional economic needs, define markets, and social harms can create internal costs for firms. Concepts like the ecological backpack help define the connection between society and economic progress – unlocking a wave of innovative growth.
Picture: Screen shot from ecological backpack video. Volkswagen Autostadt exhibition.