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Learning unlocks all doors

Newsletter Issue 29 : May 1, 2010 - May 31, 2010

newsletter Gandhian approach environment story noise pollution lean is green


lean is green

Sanjeev Dhawan

We are living in a word that consumes & grows.

It consumes continually & the consumption is growing every day. This is also cited as the success of the current economic model running the world.

However this success is fraught with its own contradictions. To consume, we need to produce and  we need to produce in ever increasing quantity & variety of goods & services.

Also, whatever is produced requires an input & a process to convert this input into the desired output product.

Inputs are invariably derived from nature be it water, air, gases, liquids solids, raw materials, fuels. A growing world needs continually higher withdrawal of these limited & thereby scarce resources.

Since no process is 100% efficient, every process produces waste. Continually growing consumption leads to higher outputs and thereby continually increasing waste.

The waste produced may be in the form of gas, liquid & solid. being undesirable, it needs to be disposed off and this adds to the ecological burden & resultant response from the ecosystem


Herein lie the two challenges that we face today and it can be understood in the simplest possible manner as;

withdrawing value from nature & stuffing the nature with waste and making it worse everyday.

Simplistically there are two responses to these two challenges.

Take less from environment

Meaning less consumption & implying a different way of living than the way we live today. (read an environmentalist with a difference)

This solution gets embargoed in conflicting views. This is evident from the debates between the environment & business interest groups.

There was a turkey living in a barn. The turkey was tired of eating grains. One day it left the barn in search of different food. The young ones followed the mother bird. Soon they reached a hill. The hill was full of black ants. The turkey started devouring them. It persuaded its little ones to eat freely. For a breakfast they consumed millions of ants. The turkey was quite unaware of it. But at the same time, it criticised the gluttony of men. It cursed man for consuming turkey for Christmas.

Herein lies the paradox. The turkey accused man for destroying a bird once a year, whereas it was killing a nation of ants for a breakfast. The turkey was committing the same fault, a million times graver, yet was ignorant of it.

Produce less waste

Both, the economists or, the ecologists agree to this solution.

It makes tremendous senses to start the green journey from a standpoint that is agreeable to all stake holders.


There are many ways to reduce waste.

These are technological solutions, attitudinal solutions, systematic solutions and many more

Lean management is one such method. Practiced worldwide it focuses on reducing waste in whatever we do.

Lean management is a principle driven, tool based philosophy that focuses on eliminating waste so that all activities/ steps add value from the customers perspective. Lean management is a strategy, philosophy, process and leadership approach for operating in a superior way.

Lean Thinking is all about continuous waste elimination.

That is why lean is green.