The Challenge

Our economy and most businesses currently operate as if never-ending growth in our consumption of finite resources will be possible when it clearly will not.

Even natural resources that can be replenished are being consumed in ways that will exhaust them; Earth Overshoot Day, the date our consumption of natural resources exceeds the ability of the planet to replenish them, gets earlier and earlier each year. If we continue with ‘business as usual’ and exhaust these essential resources, our civilization faces collapse.

Current patterns of consumption are also highly unfair, with the basic needs of many people, particularly in the Global South not being met, while overconsumption from wealthier societies is driving waste, pollution and obesity.

Our Approach

Facing into these consumption challenges is both an urgent imperative for our ongoing wellbeing and a huge economic opportunity for enlightened businesses, societies and citizens. To do this we want to engage influencers, media, brands, consumers, and others in envisioning and exploring how we can shift to radically more sustainable ways of consuming and living that are actionable, affordable and aspirational.

To be actionable, we need new business models to be available that can enable the enjoyment of a good life while also ending the wasteful consumption of finite resources. Rapid deployment of approaches such as the sharing economy, dematerialisation and circularity will be vital. 

We need these approaches to mainstream urgently, so this means that businesses need to deploy them in a ways that are accessible and affordable to regular consumers. 

It also will require consumers to want to adopt these new approaches, so they need to be aspirational. Businesses play an important role in shaping culture and aspirations through the products and services they offer and through the lifestyles and type of consumption portrayed in their marketing and advertising. These are very deep, systemic leverage points and could rapidly accelerate ordinary citizens aspiring to live life in ways that prioitise their wellbeing and quality of life over the desire to accumulate more and more material possesions. 

Examples of Our Work

Forum’s Reimagining Consumption programme has brought together wide-ranging stakeholders (such as 3M, Burberry, Ecover, IKEA, M&S, Sustainable Brands, Target, Unilever, etc.) to transform consumption and to develop action plans with game-changing potential. It is currently focusing on three questions:

1. A Regenerative Future: How does consumption need to change and become a foundational part of a regenerative economy in 2035?

We will create a new vision of the future where consumption is challenged and reimagined in a way that supports building a regenerative economy.

2. New Narratives: How can we use the collective power of all organisations coming together to raise the bar and bring to life a narrative that brings attention to new economic models? 

We will test and develop new narratives for consumption, especially in the context of the cost of living crisis, recession, and tackling inequity.

3. Inspiration: How can we learn from business models, build on them, and test new ways of consuming? 

We will curate case studies and conversations with key opinion leaders and develop a practical framework for brands to apply regenerative economy principles.

What our Partners Say

Sustainable Brands and Forum for the Future have long shared an ambition to reimagine the purpose and role of brands and business.  This is why we are so pleased to be working together on a new initiative, Reimagining Consumption, and co-hosting a session exploring what just and regenerative consumption models might look like at our upcoming Brand Led Culture change event in May in Minneapolis.” - KoAnn Skrzyniarz, Chief Executive, Sustainable Brands

Get in Touch 

Interested in transforming consumption with us? Get in touch with Jordan McKay, Forum’s Principal Sustainability Strategist.