Manufacturing and degrowth mindset

Image credit: Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

“With the existing mindset, even if we do it in a green way, manufacturing will not be sustainable”

(8:32) “I think the entire manufacturing system (and this is also true for the financing of the system, etc.) is based on growth. We need growth to cover our future investments, we need growth to get rid of all these impairment tests, we need growth to get the financing, so the entire world more or less works like this. If you look at Netflix or whatever, all those valuations are based on tremendously infinite growth. And this is the mindset also in the manufacturing industry. You need growth to be successful, you need to outperform inflation to have growth to get the valuation on the market, and as long as in the entire value chain there’s this growth topic… you get better prices if you purchase more, you get whatever. In all interactions, it’s always about volumes. It’s about purchasing power, it’s not really about what would be another feasible solution. And personally, the more I work on this topic and the more I discuss with people, I think this is something we need to really change in the entire value chain. Going from the best benefit for, more or less, the final part and trying to find a share for everyone in the value chain.”

Many of the proposed solutions to tackle climate change centre around technology and renewables. However, many economists believe it’s impossible to decouple economic growth from its negative impact on the environment and for them, degrowth remains the only sustainable strategy for planetary survival. Can European manufacturers make the shift? How can the EU promote degrowth policies?