The Living Product Challenge
Sustainable is a big hot buzzword right now. Everything from seafood to soda is “going green,” everyone from the Pope to the mailman is gushing about sustainability. What we’re not talking about is that sustaining our planet—especially in its current state—is not enough. Actively rebuilding and restoring our ecosystems needs to be an integral part of “business as usual.” The regenerative enterprise approach embodies this leveled-up commitment to people and planet. Like an immune system response to the planetary consequences of climate change, extractive business, and drastic inequality, companies, nonprofits, and small groups of individuals have begun to explore the ‘regenerative’ approach to positive change. In 2009, the International Living Future Institute was founded with the mission to “to lead the transformation to a world that is socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative.” Earlier this year, the nonprofit issued a challenge “to all manufacturers, product designers, design professionals, retailers, and consumers” (basically everyone), inviting them work toward “reconciling the manufactured environment with the natural environment into a civilization that creates greater biodiversity, resilience and opportunities for life with each adaptation and innovation.”
The organization released the Living Products Challenge Standard, a document that outlines the path to a world where all the products used are designed and constructed to function as elegantly as anything found in the natural world. In conjunction with the release of this revolutionary document, ILFI held the inaugural LPC Conference in September 2015.
Ethan Roland of Terra Genesis International spoke at the conference about the regenerative enterprise consulting that TGI is doing with LUSH Cosmetics. He explained that TGI’s consulting work focuses on regenerating global systems of supply, transforming the way in which companies interact with the raw materials they use to create their products. Using almonds as an example, he explored how LUSH is allocating resources to transition their supply practices and ingredient pathway towards regeneration. TGI uses a ‘Regenerative Continuum’ framework to engage companies in assessing their systems of supply and designing interventions that enhance ecosystems and business effectiveness.
Ethan also spoke about Sustainable Lush Fund, which invests in supply systems development through SEED Grants, Permaculture Farming, and Supplier Partnerships. LUSH gets a more resilient supply chain and direct connections with the communities from which they source their ingredients. The Living Product Challenge is raising the bar dramatically, catalyzing a paradigm shift from our current reality, where simply doing less harm is laudable, to a future where our actions and business dealings are actually restorative, giving more than we take. The Challenge defines the most advanced measure of sustainability for the creation of all products possible today, covering the following categories: Place (habitat), Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity, and finally Beauty, yes Beauty. The Challenge mandates individuals and businesses to act to rapidly diminish the gap between current limitations and the positive endgame solutions we seek. It aims to transform how we think about every single act of design and production as an opportunity to positively impact the greater community of life and the cultural fabric of our human communities. TGI recognizes the potential of the Living Products Challenge and is in full support of this revolutionary standard. We therefore intend to use it to evaluate the regeneration work we do.
LPC states in their standard: “Imagine if everything we used in our daily lives, regardless of how small, helped to create a better world.” We want to help make this a reality. If you are ready to transform your business into a regenerative enterprise, please reach out to us. We are eager to work with any company that wants to get Living Product Certified to help them move through all of the steps of certification. Click here to contact us and get started!