Regenerative Design for Sustainable Development
Regenerists believe in conservation, recognizing that humans are part of the ecosystem. The approach is one of incorporation rather than focusing on preservation, which segregates wild areas from human habitat.
Sustainable design aims to provide for fundamental human needs, whereas regenerative design goes further in that it plans for the future co-existence and co-evolution of humans and other species.
Regenerative design promotes systems thinking. Systems thinking is a whole systems approach, where we recognize that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Systems design is non-linear, feedback-rich, and interdependent. This design approach is as close to closed systems as possible, increases longevity and resilience, and has the potential to encompass regeneration and evolution in living systems.
Systems thinking emphasizes stocks and flows since replenishment of stock is inherent in feedback-rich systems. Six notable themes in systems thinking:
Feedback loops are a design aspect in circularity, and how nature’s own ecosystems operate. In design, there are two types of feedback loops: reinforcing and balancing.
Reinforcing elements in a system are abundant of one element and can continue to refine itself, which often leads to it taking over.
Balancing elements in a system, such as predatory/prey situation in nature, does exactly that- balances things out.
How does that ascribe in business modeling? Systems thinking in business context is adaptive and modular, lending itself to innovation and diversified value chains and less dependence on short-term strategies. Understanding flows in complex systems tell us about trade-offs between efficiency and resilience.
Efficient systems incorporate less nodes, less connections, and increases throughput. However, increasing efficiency systems become brittle, vulnerable to price volatility or interruptions of chain.
Circularity in Supply Chains
Circular procurement focuses on closing energy and material loops within supply chain. There are two pillars:
Promoting circular supply chains by procuring more circular products, materials and services.
- Embed approach in circular supply chain by procurement criteria
- Promote product lifetime extension
Promoting new business models based on innovative and resource-efficient solutions.
- Resource-efficient solutions
Social Dimensions in Sustainability Models
Our beautiful planet is a complex set of systems managed by society and people. A critical aspect to a balanced and sustainable model in circular economy are human and societal dimensions. In order to successfully measure economic performance, a quantifiable measure of social progress is critical. The OECD quality of life index is modeled after Stiglitz, Sen, Fitoussi (2009) and includes the following dimensions:
Quality of Life indicators for current well-being
- Work-Life balance
- Education and skills
- Social connections
- Civic engagement
- Environmental quality
- Personal security
- Subjective well-being
- Income and wealth
- Jobs and earnings
Future Resources for Well-Being
- Natural capital
- Economic capital
- Human capital
- Social capital
Conceptual Approaches to measuring Quality of Life
Subjective well-being- enabling people to be happy and satisfied is a universal goal of human existence.
Capabilities- conceives a person’s life as a combination of various “doings and beings” (functionings) and of his or her freedom to choose among these functionings (capabilities).
Weights- the various non-monetary dimensions of quality of life (beyond goods and services that are traded in markets) in a way that respects peoples preferences. “Fair allocations approach” tries to overcome by explicitly referring equity criteria.
Education and health matter for quality of life independently of its effects on people’s earnings and productivity. Measuring these benefits is important. How people spend their time, and features of activities, is important as well- irrespective of income they generate. Political voice is an integral dimension in quality of life. It helps evaluate the functioning of democracy and universal suffrage, degree of decentralization in government decisions, sense of participation, and freedom of media and civil and other participatory organs.
Star Systems is committed to incorporating social and natural dimensions and capital for the prosperity of our planet and society. By regenerating nature and promoting equity we can design our very own futures in novel ways. Understanding the symbiotic relationship of our planet and society increases longevity, health, and the evolution of our planet- for the advancement of society, environment, and economy.
This is our future.