For 9 billion people to have access to a good quality of life in 2050, we need to change what citizens perceive as high quality living, as well as changing products, services and business models.
High quality lives need a thriving resilient economy that works in the context of finite resources and fragile eco-systems, and where personal wellbeing is measured as much in life satisfaction as it is on finances and material wealth.
The following ‘headlines’ are a set of indications for what a high quality, sustainable lifestyle could look like in 2050.
They have been crafted to demonstrate the difference between a quality lifestyle today and one that would accommodate 9 billion people, where everyone has access to a quality lifestyle. By their nature they should demonstrate a tension between how we live today and how we will change for the long term. They are meant to be used as a provocation and can be used as a tool for business and individuals.
I play my part in building and maintaining trust in society As the backbone of society, I want to ensure trust is fundamental in how I work with businesses, how I view my neighbours and the trust I place in politicians. I contribute to creating a high trust society by being an active member of my community and taking leadership. In areas where I am unable to do so, I trust business and political leaders to make decisions on my behalf and lead with integrity. Society is a place where consumers trust businesses, businesses trust their supply chain and citizens trust government because of ongoing dialogue.
I manage my own physical health and emotional wellbeing. I manage my diet and exercise regularly to maintain a healthy weight, and am sensible about my alcohol intake. I have a good degree of emotional resilience and am able to manage my own happiness, self-esteem, confidence and mental wellbeing. Businesses are flexible in how people work, and as a result I have a good work/life balance which contributes to my overall wellbeing. Access to modern medicines and health care is available throughout the world.
I have enough to live on and I manage my finances sensibly. Just like I have to live within the limits of the planet, I need to live within my financial limits. I have enough money to cover my basic living needs (for myself and my family/those I financially support) and live within my means. There is a balance between my financial wellbeing now and in the future. I borrow responsibly (i.e. only what I can afford to repay, and for my long-term wellbeing), and my borrowing and lending benefits others in society.
Much less stuff is used to produce the products I buy. The products I buy are made in a different way; the supply chains of these products eliminate waste before it reaches me. They make changes on my behalf that I am unable to do, for instance while I can waste fewer beef burgers I can’t do anything about the 100 litres of water used in production of that burger. As a result of the attention to this waste minimisation across the supply chain, I get the same enjoyment out the things I buy and use but I use fewer resources to do so.
- Supply chain:
Everyone in the supply chains of products I use benefits from being in that supply chain. Everyone in the supply chain benefits as a result of consumers purchasing the end product. The supply chains of the products I buy are transparent and I am clear not only where my food/products come from but what was used to make them, and how people involved in production benefited as a result of my purchase.
I use products in a more collaborative way, and help to create a circular economy by the way I use and dispose of them. I live in a world where collaborative consumption is the norm, and renting, sharing, loaning or reusing are all options I consider before purchasing. I am conscious of how I use products, ensuring the least impact on the environment when I do so. Recycling, upcycling, returning and reusing products are options I consider before disposal, as one’s waste becomes another’s input in a circular economy.
I only use clean and renewable energy and I value the amount that I use. Energy companies are only using clean, renewable energy sources. As a consumer I am much more efficient with my energy usage as I feel I have a personal responsibility to use energy consciously and I value it as a commodity. The way in which I value energy has changed because of my increased awareness of natural capital. I only use the amount of energy that I need, and make it go as far as possible to ensure none is wasted.
I am an active participant in a vibrant, trusting, local community and global society. I get involved in my community (local and global) and am an active participant in society. I take pride in my local community; I take an active and supportive interest in my neighbours. As a result of this trust there is a low level of crime and the streets are kept clean as a result of resident participation. I am an active participant in my global community and act on worldwide issues. I have a greater global understanding/ awareness about other cultures.
I have found the right balance between new technology and simple behaviours. I have taken up new technologies where they have helped to enhance my life, but have struck a balance between this and simple behaviours when needed. For instance the car I drive is incredibly eco-efficient and used collaboratively, however I recognise the need for simplicity in walking to the shop just down the road instead of driving. I recognise the role new technology has played in enhancing simple behaviours, such as mobile payments, or mobile technology to help enable a car sharing scheme to function.
I recognise that nature has an economic value and understand my dependency on it. Nature has a commonly recognised value in society along with other commodities. Because of this, I value where my food comes from and waste less as a result. I take time to appreciate nature, especially if I live in a city, and recognise its contribution to my welbing. Measuring environmental profit and loss becomes commonplace in businesses, as all value natural capital.