CEOs Release Sustainability Vision for 2050.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) last week launched the Vision 2050 report, a study that lays out a pathway leading to a global population of some 9 billion people living well, within the resource limits of the planet by 2050. The report, released at the World CEO Forum in New Delhi, India, was compiled by 29 leading global companies representing 14 industries.

The report states that the world already has the resources to achieve
Vision 2050, but there is a catch: "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," added Samuel A. DiPiazza Jr., former CEO and
Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers. This includes a radical
transformation of global markets, governance and infrastructure, and a
re-thinking of our ideas of growth and progress.

Vision 2050 spells out the “must haves”–the things that must happen
over the coming decade to make a sustainable planetary society
possible. These include incorporating the costs of externalities,
starting with carbon, ecosystem services and water, into the structure
of the marketplace; doubling agricultural output without increasing the
amount of land or water used; halting deforestation and increasing
yields from planted forests: halving carbon emissions worldwide (based
on 2005 levels) by 2050 through a shift to low-carbon energy systems
and improved demand-side energy efficiency, and providing universal
access to low-carbon mobility.

The report presents new opportunities for business in a broad range of business segments with the foresight to lead their societies on a sustainable business development agenda. This work results from an 18-month combined effort with CEOs and experts, and dialogues with over 200 companies and external stakeholders in some 20 countries.

"The world already has the knowledge, science, technologies, skills and financial resources needed to achieve Vision 2050. However, concerted global action in the next decade will be required to bring these capabilities and resources together, putting the world on the path to sustainability," explained WBCSD President Bjorn Stigson.

The publication outlines a future in which 9 billion people live well, enjoying health, food, shelter, energy, mobility, education and other basics of life. Syngenta CEO, Michael Mack added that "humanity has largely had an exploitative relationship with our planet; we can, and should, aim to make this a symbiotic one." In the Vision 2050 scenario, global society attains this standard of living at a sustainable rate, without further harm to biodiversity, climate and ecosystem services.

As part of this transformation, Vision 2050 calls for a new agenda for business: to work with government and society worldwide to transform markets and competition. "Sustainability will become a key driver for all our investment decisions," added Idar Kreutzer, CEO of Storebrand and project co-chair. New rules for markets will reframe environmental challenges as economic challenges, driving innovation and competition in the direction of sustainability and away from resource- and energy-intensive production. Rationalizing prices to include such externalities as climate and biodiversity impacts will make corporate environmental efficiency a true competitive advantage across all industries and regions.

Business will lead market change by doing what business does best: forming partnerships, creating efficiencies and competitive advantage, seizing opportunities and meeting customer needs. At the same time, a shift toward sustainability will trigger trillions of dollars in new investments in infrastructure, technology and human services, creating new opportunities for business to thrive and grow. A recent study commissioned for this project with PricewaterhouseCoopers indicates that this investment could reach US$3-10 trillion per annum in 2050.

The report is available as a pdf at the link below.

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