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We use the funnel as a metaphor to help visualise the economic, social and environmental pressures that are growing on society as natural resources and ecosystem services diminish and the population’s number and consumption grows.
Imagine looking at a giant funnel from the side. The upper wall is the availability of resources and the ability of the ecosystem to continue to provide them. The lower wall is our demand for these resources which we need to make clothes, shelter, food, transportation and other items and the ecosystems that create them.
The things we need to survive - food, clean air and water, productive topsoil and others - are in decline. So is nature’s ability to regenerate them.
But at the same time, our demand for these resources is growing. There are more than six billion people on the planet and the population is increasing. Our level of consumption is increasing.
As our demand increases and the capacity to meet this demand declines, society moves into a narrower portion of the funnel. As the funnel narrows there are fewer options and less room to manoeuvre. Organisations that continue business-as-usual; are likely to hit the walls of the funnel, and fail.
Opening the Walls of the Funnel
Every one of us lives and works in this funnel and every one of us has the opportunity to be more strategic about our choices and long-term plans. Through innovation, creativity and the unlimited potential for change, we can shift toward sustainability and begin to open up the walls of the funnel.
Forward looking organisations can position themselves to avoid the squeeze of the funnel and invest toward opening the walls and creating a truly sustainable and rewarding future.