Business Leaders Present Their Vision for a Sustainable Economy

02/25/2010 10:50 PM

The world has the resources to allow 9 billion people to live well within the means of one planet – but achieving this goal will require radical transformations to world markets, governance and our very notions of growth and progress. Such is the conclusion of Vision 2050: the New Agenda for Business, an effort by some of the world’s most influential companies to lay out a pathway for achieving a sustainable world by 2050.

The report suggests that greater sustainability and resource-efficiency will, increasingly, become a precondition for corporate success.  “Sustainability will become a key driver for all our investment decisions, said Idar Kreutzer, CEO of Storebrand, a leading Norwegian financial group.

Led by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Vision 2050 project – aimed at identifying both the scope of ecological challenges the corporate sector will face in the coming years as well as related opportunities – involved the participation of companies such as Boeing, Syngenta, Weyerhauser, Procter & Gamble, Alcoa, Duke Energy, Toyota and Volkswagen. Global Footprint Network participated in Vision 2050 by creating a scenario calculator that helped leaders run the numbers on various ecological scenarios and solutions.

The report lays out “must-have” conditions for making a sustainable society possible, including:

• A system of market pricing that reflects ecological costs, starting with carbon, water and ecosystem services
• Doubling agricultural output without increasing the amount of land or water used
• Halting deforestation and increasing yields from planted forests
• Halving carbon emissions worldwide by 2050 through a shift to low-carbon energy systems and more energy-efficienct goods and services.
• Providing universal access to low-carbon transportation

New rules for markets will drive innovation and competition in the direction of sustainability and away from resource- and energy-intensive production, the report says. Simply put, the costs of producing highly resource-intensive goods will increase, even as demand for such products falls.

“The radical changes highlighted in Vision 2050 demand a different perspective from business leaders, requiring them to rethink how they operate to stay on-track for a sustainable future,” said Samuel A DiPiazza, Jr., former CEO and Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Read the Vision 2050 report.

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