Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A framework for a sustainable economy


Project Overview

“Our food reserves are at a 50-year low, but by 2030 we need to be producing 50% more food. At the same time, we will need 50% more energy, and 30% more fresh water… You can't think about dealing with one without considering the others. We must deal with all of these together."
- John Beddington, UK Government’s Chief Scientist
There is growing recognition that our global economy is unsustainable. John Beddington talks of a ‘perfect storm’ of food, energy and water shortages converging in 2030. Underlying this are deep long-term trends such as population growth, climate change, persistent poverty and poor health. Governments and business are beginning to take action. Yet we struggle to understand what is meant by sustainable economy. And how do you turn sustainability risks into opportunities? Both the Technology Strategy Board and Aviva Investors have been engaging with these issues proactively. We’ve been working with these two organisations to develop a Sustainable Economy Framework (SEF) that defines what we mean by environmental limits and social value.
What is the ‘Sustainable Economy Framework’ (SEF)?
The SEF sets out the parameters for a sustainable future economy that can help today’s investments and business decisions deliver sustainable value over the long term. The SEF defines the characteristics of a sustainable economy: one that operates within safe environmental limits and enriches people’s lives. It has been developed by Forum for the Future in partnership with Aviva Investors and the Technology Strategy Board and is based on analysis of over 40 sources and frameworks examining the topic of sustainable economy, as well as extensive stakeholder consultation.
The outermost ring of the SEF describes the key environmental boundaries that any successful economy must respect. The second ring describes the social and political conditions which we believe are necessary to support a complex, flourishing global civilization. These all work towards delivering the desired outcomes (the ‘bullseye’ of the SEF) – universal and continuous access for current and future generation to the resources and opportunities necessary to live well.
We have developed similar but different versions of the SEF to align to the strategic priorities of Aviva Investors and Technology Strategy Board.
Read more on how Aviva Investors and Forum for the Future see the role of capital markets in facilitating a sustainable economy and more on howTechnology Strategy Board are integrating the SEF into their investments.
Contact us with comments on the framework or to discuss how you can use within your own organisation by emailing SEF@forumforthefuture.org.