This year, the topic for the CAT A is: “Consumerism: A Society in Search of Satisfaction”. While consumerism is associated with several positive effects, psychologists and sociologists have suggested that a tipping point has been reached and that the negative environmental and social outcomes may be outweighing the positive.

“Development is about more than money, or machines or good policies, it is about real people and the lives they lead.”
Paul Kagame, President, Republic of Rwanda

Earth Is Now Our Only Shareholder – Yvon Chouinard

Read Yvon Chouinard’s letter and answer the following questions:

  • What were the drivers for changing how business is done?
  • Drawing from the source, provide examples of how Patagonia has addressed these problems in the past.
  • Personal reflection: what can you do with the resources that you have to make a difference in your own world? Make a list of your relevant resources and then, consider what action you can take.
  • In what ways are Patagonia change agents and how do you think their actions may or may not affect how other companies choose to run their businesses?

B Corp: A certification that confirms a business meets standards in environmental performance and business transparency. It also means being accountable to stakeholders, not just shareholders.
Meritocracy: A system, organisation or society in which people are chosen and moved into positions of success, power and influence on the basis of their demonstrated abilities and merit.

You can listen to Patagonia Stories here:

The 3Ps (people, planet and profit) – companies taking action
While change is slow, many companies now recognise the value of the 3Ps of sustainable business. It is no longer enough to prioritise only profit. The triple bottom line—people, planet and profit—are all taken into account to determine how well a company is performing. In other words, financial gain is balanced with environmental and social impact.

Worldwide awareness – governments taking action
In 2015, world leaders agreed to 17 Global Goals called the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs that have the power to create a better world by 2030. In 2023, we find ourselves with only seven years until that target date of 2030. There is still a lot of work to be done. Goal 12 addresses the issue of consumerism in particular.

Goal 12. Responsible consumption and production
Progress in our world has been accompanied by environmental degradation. We need to balance progress with sustainable production so that we do not deplete the natural resources we depend on for our very survival.

Minimalism and Zero Waste – individuals taking action
The word ‘minimalism’ is described in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “a style or technique (as in music, literature or design) that is characterised by extreme spareness and simplicity”.3 It has become an international movement that promotes owning only what you value in life, getting rid of clutter and having more time for what matters. The Zero Waste Movement is also a lifestyle choice that encourages people to reduce consumption.

The Minimalists: Less Is Now Trailer (1.42)
Zero Waste With Bea Johnson (8.31)

If you are using the Achieve Careers LO Programme, the following information and activities are recommended:

  • GR 10 LO Manual – Section 2 (pp. 24-25; pp. 30-31 & pp. 33-34)
  • GR 11 LO Manual – Section 2
  • GR 11 LO Manual – Section 6
  • GR 11 CAPS eBook – Section 2
  • Teacher’s Flash Drive – LO Resources – Critical Thinking folder
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