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Backcasting from the future


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How did you get there? Could possibly that Olympic Games be a stepping stone in this direction? Of course it can, but it depends on how you do it, not ‘is it good or is it not.’ That is never the issue. It is always ‘how did you do it?’ Did you use it as a stepping stone or didn’t you? I think that depends on the terms. If you want to go for it, on what terms do you go for it? What kind of extra community building things around it did you launch? And not the least important, what other alternatives were around, so that you don’t take one stepping stone that attracts that much focus and then maybe miss something that you should have done instead.

On the other hand, I could imagine that if the whole community would go for it with the right intention of fostering and promoting systematic sustainable development, and did it in a way that it would really show, then it could do two good things. 1. It could promote sustainability globally, and 2. It could make a team of the people who did it, and that would really be something to make high-fives of.

So it depends on the conditions, always. In the same way, is plastic better than paper or is it the other way around? There is no such thing. You succeeded to comply with the principles and then you ask yourself, did we choose paper or plastic? It depends on how you did it. If you, for instance, buy plastic from a producer who is systematically moving towards compliance with the principles, and you buy from him to help him move in that direction...

Plastic can be a fantastic product in the future if it does not release persistent unnatural compounds, heavy metals like lead and mercury, because it is so light and strong – it can help us avoid a lot of other materials like heavy metals… See what I mean?

But if you buy paper from somebody who is systematically moving in that direction, which is wood, you are also doing good things. It always depends on ‘how.’ And that can not be perceived with today’s perspectives. Today we only look at the impacts we know. You must stand in the future, understanding how to define success, and then you see the paths that may lead there.