Thursday 25th March saw the most anticipated launch of the “Vision 2050: Time to Transform” at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Business in the Community Ireland is the national partner network for the WBCSD and as such we are engaged in bringing the message and deliverables of the newly launched Vision 2050 to our member companies and other key stakeholders in Ireland.
While 2050 can seem incredibly far away from the quarterly, yearly of even five-yearly horizon of a CEO or business leader, we recognise that in order to deliver in 2050 we need action to start now. The pandemic has exposed the vulnerability and instability of our economic systems; it has shown how ill-prepared we are to deliver a low carbon economy and it has put into stark contrast the inequalities in our society. We all agree that the business models of 2050 will be radically different to the ones we have today, and we know that businesses cannot succeed in societies that fail or in a burning planet. We are at a tipping point with a planetary and societal crisis. We all know that action is needed, starting today.
The shared vision of the WBCSD is compelling: “A world in which more than nine billion people can live well, within planetary boundaries, by 2050.” This vision is supported by a framework for action for the decade ahead, “designed to help companies drive change in their sustainability planning and business strategies.”
The report issued last week provides the scientific evidence of how the vision can be achieved and offers guidance to businesses on the specific actions that must be taken to ensure the vision is realised. Vision 2050 focuses on systemic transformation, defined in the report as “reinvention, re-creation, and the emergence of completely new ways of thinking and acting based on fundamentally new premises and new sources of value.” Systemic change also means that the change is going to be interconnected, interdependent and multi-layered, involving all stakeholders.
The vision is structured around nine pathways to transformation:
For each major pathway, the report defines the key transitions that will be required, such as circularity, regenerative, net-zero, shared value creation, universal access, transparency, and specific areas of business focus for the 2020-2030 decade ahead. Additionally, the framework realises that a significant business mindset shift will be required, based on the principles of reinventing capitalism, long-term resilience, and regenerative thinking.
Key actions for business
Systemic change is not an expression we hear much in Irish boardrooms. It is imperative for any business to understand what actions can be undertaken to contribute to this shared vision. We need to assess what does living well and within planetary boundaries mean from an Irish, regional, and sectoral perspective. The UN Sustainable Development Goals provide a clear roadmap towards this vision.
Finally, and most importantly, Irish business leaders must understand the need for concerted action, for alliances to accelerate change and impact. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to undertake a major reset of our economy and society that will in turn make businesses thrive and be future-fit. If 2050 remains too distant, then, focusing on key actions for business the decade ahead should be the way forward.
Business in the Community Ireland will work with member companies and strategic partners in further understanding how to implement Vision 2050 in Ireland and across our economy and society.
The 2050 Vision to Transform is in line with BITCI’s mission of working on the transition to a low carbon and inclusive society where everyone thrives.
If you are a member of BITCI contact your Account Manager for further information on how to engage with Vision 2050.