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Dr Seuss’s Thoughtful Consumption

I have sat down with my children and watched the movie ‘The Lorax’ countless times. It’s a fun, vibrant movie adapted from the Dr Seuss classic. My kids love watching it and funnily enough so do I, but when I’m watching the movie, I have to assume that I am seeing something that they aren’t; a hidden message that might go over the heads of the young but one that certainly resonates with me.

The Lorax is a curious creature and, while I like to think that we don’t share any traits in the looks department, we definitely subscribe to similar ideologies. We both advocate progressive thought toward conservation, consideration for future generations’ needs and the want to do your part in making the world a better place. In fact I have been referring to all these ideals for years under the blanket term ‘Thoughtful Consumption’.

The Lorax is ‘the voice of the trees’ and at one point in the movie he makes this very bold statement;

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

I find this statement very compelling for two big reasons. Firstly, for Dr Seuss (Theodor Geisel, for those playing at home) to have penned this entertaining children’s tale in 1971 with an in-between-the-lines demonstration of Green-thought pioneering, shows an astonishing amount of foresight.

But more than that the overall message is something that I completely agree with and that at ESG we consider ourselves a purpose driven company that passionately believes in ‘Thoughtful Consumption’.

I want to make it clear that I am not here to preach about how the human population is crafting its own demise by logging trees like some crazy, self-proclaimed doomsday prophet. I am not doing that by any means. We, in our nature, are consumers. We have basic needs: we require food, water, shelter and the provision of these things for our families. As a result of this, we need physical resources such as trees. And while trees are not a finite resource like oil, we still need to very careful in the way that we manage them, which is why Thoughtful Consumption makes so much sense.

We say cut down the trees, we need them. We also need toilet paper. The issue with consigning a trees first use to the manufacture of toilet paper is that it will also be its last use, and this is something that makes absolutely no sense to me.

Would you buy timber, build a house, live in it for a day then demolish it and incinerate the remains? With that in mind, what is the purpose of converting tree pulp straight into toilet paper and then throwing it down the drain as its end use? The Lorax also said, “It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become.” A tree can be recycled 4-5 times before it is turned into toilet paper, which means that its potential use is extended way beyond a simple button push and flush. That is why ESG will only ever produce and distribute 100% recycled paper.

In my opinion, a company will show Green initiative either because they want to use it as a competitive edge or because they truly believe it is the right thing to do. I don’t judge any business that adheres to the former; they have made the conscious decision to go Green for capital gain and as a by-product they are doing some good in the world. That is still a positive result. You can challenge me on this, but I can whole-heartedly state that ESG is a company driven by purpose. We value the merit of being considered Green Leaders and Social Leaders above profit. I believe that this will generate more success for us in the long-term over any immediate gain. And I can confidently say that whatever ESG chooses to produce and sell in the future will be sold with Thoughtful Consumption in mind.

Trees don’t have the ability to speak, but if they did, I think that they would agree with the Lorax and me.