Building Bridges to the Future

Imagine it is 2040. We have achieved the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We have ended hunger and poverty and achieved gender equality. Everyone has access to clean water and sanitation. We have created a sustainable society and you have helped to forge a sustainable company.

What would a sustainable economy look like in 2040? Currently, we lack the vocabulary and paradigms to get there. I am working to define and create the vocabulary for transformation as part of a global effort to build a Lexicon, Library and Lab.

Here are some of the ideas and paradigms going forward:

Business needs to become regenerative, to not just conserve energy and resources, but to regenerate. For example, one clothing brand is taking back its garments and reconstituting them to create new garments, pillows and art. Companies such as Natura are creating forms of industrial symbiosis to share their by-productswith other companies to create circular pathways of production. 

Companies are setting goals to become resource positive – giving back more than they consume, storing more carbon than they emit and eliminating waste.

Social design is necessary to design products, processes and companies that address social needs and problems, creating social value. For example, companies are using open hiring or inclusive hiring to find employment opportunities for marginalized populations.

Companies such as Dell are setting Moonshot Goals to create long-term strategic goals to address social, environmental and financial goals.   For example, Dell is committing to having 50 percent of its global workforce be women by 2030, and 40 percent of its leaders be women.

Defining new concepts can help us to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

What words are in your Lexicon? 

Deborah Leipziger advises companies and organizations around the world as the CEO of The Leipziger Group and is the author of several leading books in the field of CSR and Sustainability.