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The private sector is able to influence, empower and align actors up and down value chains, across geographies, cultures and socio-economic groups. While rightly recognizing the essential role that governments, civil society and the public at large will play in driving progress toward our vision, it is also clear that multinational corporations have a unique ability to lead the transformations that are required.

Understanding how important it is that people can truly live well, and do so within planetary boundaries, will drive forward-looking companies to ask themselves: what is their role in the kind of future we want to live and operate in; what are the pathways that will transition us to that future; and what can we do to accelerate that transition, while continuing to succeed today and be resilient into the future? Vision 2050 helps companies to answer these questions.


The type of action that is needed to transform systems and achieve our vision will require an unprecedented form and level of business leadership. Companies need to build an ecosystem of action, creating unstoppable momentum towards Vision 2050. Realizing transformation will depend on leadership based on three core elements of our vision.

The public now understands that leadership on sustainable development is just as likely to come from companies as it is from civil society or governments. This places new levels of both responsibility and expectation on companies to address social and environmental challenges. When business shares a common agenda, it can reach up and down entire value chains – and when that agenda is forward-looking, ambitious and optimistic, it can drive transformation through entire systems. Vision 2050 provides business with this shared vision. It defines the world we are seeking to create and lays out the mindsets, transitions and actions that will make it a reality. Business leads by unequivocally recognizing the urgent need for change, upholding the facts underpinning this urgency, and by being open and realistic about the necessary transformations that lie ahead.
Understanding how systems transform, the pressures that influence change and the factors that enable and accelerate it, is absolutely crucial if we are to successfully disrupt business as usual and pursue the transformations laid out in Vision 2050. Systems-thinking will be at the heart of progress towards our vision. It will open business leaders’ eyes to the macrotrends, disruptions and innovations that shape the world they operate in; to risks to future resilience and profits; and to their dependence on the stability and success of other industries and institutions, communities and ecosystems. Systems-thinking will drive us to be both bold and humble – confident that we can disrupt and transform systems to deliver a more sustainable world, clear-eyed about the collaborations that progress will depend on.
Our current systems will not deliver a world in which 9+ billion people can live well, within planetary boundaries. Global market forces have failed to deliver sustainable development. Economies have demonstrated that they not resilient enough to future shocks, which continue to grow in likelihood and severity. And our businesses and societies will not reach their full potential until they aspire to the generation of true value, to the continuous building of capacity for all life to grow, evolve and thrive. These mindset shifts – reinvention, resilience and regeneration – will not only make the pursuit of the transitions in our pathways inevitable, they will reinforce the importance of systems-perspectives and our shared vision. They will provide business with the reasons it needs to mitigate transition risks, factor in transition costs, and safeguard its ability to generate long-term value and therefore its future success. They are the key to running companies well, well into the future.

Embracing these three core elements of the vision will naturally lead to new levels of leadership. It will be aligned around a shared vision. It will be disruptive, rejecting business as usual but understanding the need to work within current systems as we seek to transform them to deliver fundamentally different outcomes. And it will be passionately committed to action, accountable for the progress that is necessary if 9+ billion people are to live well, within planetary boundaries, by 2050.


Get all the key sections of our Vision 2050 report here to read how business can help build a better world.

Time for a Shared Vision


Time for Action


Time for a mindset shift


Time to succeed


Time for leadership

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