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Sample case: a pumpkin soup ready-made package

This article provides you with an exemplary case to use for the next and further exercises.
a top-down view of colorful pumpkins

The exercises in this course will use some real-life cases.

We advise you to think of an example from your life that you can draw some maps on. Yet, if you don’t have a case suitable for drawing the maps during this course, you can use this example case.

Imagine that you’re a sustainability consultancy, and you have this project from a client: a supermarket chain.

The product:

A pumpkin soup ready-made package

Content of the box

The box consists of:

  • One pumpkin
  • One apple
  • One orange
  • A few carrots
  • A few onions
  • A few cloves of garlic
  • A piece of ginger root
  • Two stock cubes

  • A cardboard box
  • A plastic wrapper


A product does not exist in a vacuum but touches a multitude of different systems. These systems include farming, packaging, retail, and waste management, the energy system, and water for the ready-made pumpkin soup.

The description below can help you to understand the extent to which the system map can be expanded.

Most of the items in the package are cultivated in the agricultural system. All agriculture requires water and fertilizers.

Apples and oranges come from orchards, although they grow in completely different climates.

Onions, garlic, and carrots are mostly grown in open field horticulture.

All items have to be transported, sorted, cleaned, and packaged, before they end up in the supermarket, to finally reach the consumer, who makes the soup and discards the peels and packaging.


For now, let’s imagine that your client is a supermarket chain trying to offer more sustainable pumpkin soup.

The purpose of this example is to improve the sustainability of the whole package, including the content.

The system maps can illustrate the different steps in the process from farm to plate and indicate the influence of each of the steps towards the system’s environmental impact as a whole.

For now, this sample case works as a piece of information for you to marinate and start to create the scenario while you learn.

The ideal scenario is for you to work both on your personal case and on the sample project.

If you think is too much, you can choose between one or another.

While you learn about or refine the details about the mapping process, keep this goal in mind, this is going to help you to visualize ideas and solutions towards your goal.

Let’s start!

© Except Academy
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Systems Thinking for Sustainability: Drawing complexity on a paper

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