Planetary Futures Goals for 2030: Conscious Networks presents ‘Choices’

Futures Studios bring students together to explore the futures of technology, society, and creativity. Together with UAL Futures and IAM, participants’ collective mission is to define a set of Planetary Futures Goals — and activate creative projects.

Conscious Networks is 1 of 4 Planetary Futures Goals created by studio participants in 2017/18.


Conscious Networks explores how together we can make the world an ethical and sustainable place — fair for people, businesses and the planet.

Social, economic, political and technological changes will happen at speed never experienced before. The networked society we know today will reach its peak, embracing every level of our being human. ‘Anarchic networks’ will become the key to overcome monopolies and design new collectives, ‘sophisticated variants of peer-to-peer […] technologies’ and systems (Schwarz, 2012).

What will these new forms of global social aggregation determine by 2030? As Hawken and Lovins (1999) state in the book ‘Natural Capitalism’ our current economic state will exponentially move, as we are now slowly starting to experience, from traditional industrial capitalism to one based on environmental resources developing a self-sufficient ecosystem of services arising from the collaboration of human-made and natural capital.

By exploiting the current trends of social interaction and aiming to a total revolution of supply chains and businesses as we know it, conscious networks are here introduced by UAL Futures Studio as a probable and possible answer to the plethora of systemic societal shifts.

The current state is contaminated by social, environmental and ethical issues mainly related to obsolete consumption patterns, based on infinite production and waste. Monopolies, structured on targeting people just as ‘fast’ consumers, who fail to provide them with ethical foundations on which to base their choices and, alternatively, to see what is outside the bubble of such industrial giants.

Luckily, not all future has to be dystopian. Plenty of opportunities and trends are being explored to reformulate the status of things. Recent trends in conscious consumption demonstrate growing awareness by businesses on the impact they can have on both environment and society.

For instance, more and more businesses are embracing such values:

  • The collaboration between Adidas and Parsley to tackle plastic pollution in our oceans;
  • Mat&Nat’s commitment not to use any animal-products in their fashion accessory line;
  • London based coffee shop Second Shot offering homeless an opportunity to work and to be re-integrated in society.

It isn’t only businesses who are becoming more aware of their responsibilities: 88% of people seek brands that respect people and planet, demonstrating that the ideals for more conscious capitalism are starting to be embraced on both a macro as well as on a micro level.

Official institutions, such as the UK government, are increasingly requiring environmental, social and ethical sustainable practice from businesses. Organisations such as B Corp embraced such trends and offered services that help companies to align with these sustainable requirements. Interesting are the results reported by B Corp businesses, growing 28 times faster than the national economic growth of 0.5% hence proving how social Impact and sustainability will be real imperatives for any measure of success.

Technological developments such as blockchain are also directing brands and individuals towards transparent supply chains. By tracking each product or service’s supply chain, we will indeed be able to achieve a circular economy.

The necessity behind conscious networks thus bases its foundations on measurable, growing trends. But how will these new social and digital formations bring us to a future that more closely resembles that predicted in Natural Capitalism?

At the core of the conscious networks manifesto are:

  • Simplifying the process of identifying and listing as well as educating in regards to these alternatives. To achieve this the development of a tool to guide people towards more conscious behaviours will be implemented.
    In the form of a geolocation-based app, Choices aims to make conscious options more visible and available. By understanding what these conscious choices are, what they mean and the impact they have, the user will find it easier to visualise its own agency when consuming.
  • Identifying the requirements for a conscious business, individual actions and impact to be developed into an official certificate, creating a collective of conscious realities within our network.

Although we propose an app as the first approach towards conscious consumption behaviours, we realise this can’t by all means be the most relevant, nor the most impactful solution.. Not only providing future citizens of the world with aesthetically pleasing digital interfaces, conscious networks also aim to create a movement and strategy toward the creation of a global, networked and conscious economy.

Our vision is that the widespread application of blockchain and further interest by the public to track its data will eventually lead to an ECOSYSTEM INNOVATION.

By 2030 consistent numbers of business will have aligned with our mission, balancing their profit assets to the benefits of a sustainable, socio-ethical matter. Choices thus aim to create a movement that will redefine the values of businesses to become not only the best in the world but also the best for the world. We see Choices being the first step towards the realisation of our goal: the creation a global economy that uses business as a force for good.

As a co-created project between UAL students, staff and learning partners, Conscious Networks is asking for you participation!

How to get involved:
-
Send an email to consciousnetworks.ual@gmail.com
- You will receive an invite to Niice, a digital mood-board platform. https://niice.co/m/f938e292f49351242e4ab77176f70cf3

Take part to a virtual co-creation! 
Help us create stronger Conscious Networks by sharing ideas, pictures, articles... Anything that might be useful is more than welcomed!

Read more about Conscious Networks and Choices:
https://www.ualfuturestudio2030.com/conscious-networks