188: Steve Sikra, part 1: Passion at Proctor and Gamble

June 15, 2019 by Joshua
in Podcast

Proctor and Gamble produces a lot of plastic and waste, which makes them very interesting to me. An old me would protest. The leader me sees the opportunity to support change if they aren’t changing and help motivate it if they are.

Not just reduce waste—also to help increase the joy, meaning, and purpose in the process—what the “leadership” part of this podcast’s title alludes to.

Steve Sikra has worked there nearly 30 years. He knows their history and practices backward and forward. He’s very enthusiastic.

He talks about systemic change and overall reduction. I’m not sure it’s P&G’s main goal. Or rather, we see the relevant systems differently. One of my main discoveries in environmental action is the difference between raising efficiency and lowering overall waste. I cover this difference in episode 183: Reusing and recycling are tactical. Reducing is strategic, which I recorded after this conversation with Steve. Probably this conversation with Steve helped me get to episode 183.

Working on efficiency may lead to no change in total waste. Raising efficiency often increases total waste while making people think they’re decreasing it, which leads them to do more. I’m not speaking about P&G since I don’t know the data, just describing a pattern.

I’ve read studies showing that our overall efficiency has increased and contributed to increasing total waste. I’m not saying don’t increase efficiency, but to focus on lowering waste first, then increase efficiency if it helps.

I’m glad to hear that P&G plans to decrease using raw fossil fuels. I’m also glad to hear Steve’s passion and dedication. We had great conversations leading up to the recording, talking about sidchas, burpees, and other passions we share.

Sign up for my weekly newsletter