Speech: Consumption is the problem, design is the solution.

Diego Horcajada, December 2017

Leyla Acaroglu describes herself as a “Sustainability Provocateur, Designer, Sociologist, Experimental Educator and Social Change Maker

In this amazing TED talk she presents us the complexity behind the question; “what is best for environment?” when making a consumption decision, as usual the answer is “it depends”.

I hope you enjoy her fun and inspiring style.

I would be glad if you share your thoughts after watching it.

Diego Horcajada

4 thoughts on “Speech: Consumption is the problem, design is the solution.

  1. Interesting. A pity that food companies don’t do enough to educate consumers. Bigger question is -how does sustainability become economical. The co sumer visible marked prices have to tell a diff story. Today its about driving lowest price and that is a lie. Price should include a lifecycle cost This has to change.


    1. Indeed, companies in all sectors are not doing enough to educate consumers; they are not yet ready to answer the request of “educated” consumers. But anyway I actually don’t think corporations should drive consumer’s education, they should just be transparent on their supply chains: sources networks, materials and labour conditions.

      We should trust the intellectual and moral capacities of consumers to make the right choice. Educating consumers is for me not the role of the corporation, but the role of the consumer himself, supported by access to reliable, and comprehensible information, provided by trustable certifications. Only then we can claim consumers have freedom of choice: first the choice between buying or not, and then choosing brands based full transparency of trustable and reliable information.

      Regarding your question about sustainability becoming economical, I would argue we need first to understand what is the right question: sustainability becoming economical? or economic system becoming sustainable? With the first question, we will address just the symptoms. With the second question, we will address the root cause.


  2. Agree for most part. the issue I have is that even educated consumers are served lies. Case in point is big trading nations like US and China use loopholes in the system to drive agendas. The economic system is too complex to change in the short or medium term-10-20 years. I do believe transparency is a necessary basic but the things that will speak to consumers is ‘price’. The other things are too complex for a layman to look into and trace.
    If I have to pay more for a product that will force me to educate myself and either buy or reject leading to a life choice. Companies are not obliged to educate per se but when you get into moral and ethical issues they need to make an effort. Current economic systems are in the moral and ethical grey zones. Corporations are not to blame-it’s us as consumers that want the best price and they just serve the lies we feel comfortable with. If they take away the comfort zone of low price, availability of all produce year round, taxing on wastage of food, labor conditions etc–all of which today is not questioned in any organized or impactful fashion we will start to see a small but sure change.
    Hence my point on ‘economic viability of sustainbility’-humans (people, organizations, governments) are naturally driven by economical solutions. To solve the ‘economic system becoming sustainable’ issue will work too slow as too much money is at stake. Effort vs return is beyond one’s lifetime.
    Innovative solutions around sustainability at a fair cost is what (in my view) will bring a change.
    Think electric cars vs gasoline, renewable energy vs non-renewable. We all know it’s good but till the cost is high no one switches. Regulators need to incentivize the right behaviour for the future. We need to elect the right representatives as well as a personal responibility but also disenegage with brands that cannot provide transparency in an understandable way.
    Regardless, it’s great food for thought and something I worry about as well and am happy that you are involved in some form to learn,educate us and hopefully drive somethings in the future.
    I would also recommend a show on Netflix called ‘rotten’ which covers some of these cases of big corporations and nations driving the wrong consumer behavior. I thought I was educated enough but each day I learn something new.


    1. Great exchange, thanks for your sharing your views and concerns. I agree with you it is not easy to realise that many times, when we learn something new, we actually challenge some of our previous beliefs.
      I guess we need to learn to live out of our comfort zones, what is hard when we are in a society marketed around comfort.


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