The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has released an issue brief outlining the business model shifts, emerging technologies and social innovations that could shape the next decade. The report is designed to help us think about the innovations that we can leverage in service of the SDGs, and those that we need to work harder to bring about.
The essential systems transformations that sit at the heart of the delivery of the SDGs will all depend on innovation: in decarbonization technologies, transport technologies, in preventative healthcare and in gene technologies, materials and materials reuse, in building design, building use and reuse, in sanitation and in the sanitation economy, in agricultural practices, food storage technologies and more.
The future is rarely shaped by single innovations – more often it is multiple innovations aligning at a particular moment and influencing society in a transformative way. We cannot predict the future, but we can identify the innovations could shape it and the ones that we might need to push the future in a certain direction.
With the above in mind, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has released an issue brief outlining the business model shifts, emerging technologies and social innovations that could shape the next decade. The report is designed to help us think about the innovations that we can leverage in service of the SDGs, and those that we need to work harder to bring about.
This issue brief is part of a series of interim outputs linked to WBCSD’s current refresh of its Vision 2050, a landmark 2010 report that laid out a pathway to a world in which nine billion people are able to live well, within planetary boundaries, by mid-century. WBCSD is working together with 40 of its member companies to update this work and again provide business with a common agenda for action over the decade to come.
Achieving this vision of more than 9 billion people living well, within planetary boundaries, calls for transformation across a wide range of key global systems, driving forward radical shifts in how we power our societies, feed ourselves, build the communities in which we live, move around, and consume goods and services. As significant systems shifts are primarily influenced by prevailing macrotrends and transformative innovations, the Vision 2050 project has sought to understand these areas in greater detail.
Building on the insights of Zurich-based think tank W.I.R.E., the issue brief outlines 25 innovation areas, grouped into three types of innovations:
We will be releasing further issue briefs in the coming months to help companies navigate the challenges of responding to the socio-economic turmoil unleashed by COVID-19, whilst maintaining (and increasing) ambition on sustainable development goals.
Among the resources that have already been produced are an analysis of macrotrends & disruptions shaping 2020-2030, a piece of work looking at the consequences of COVID-19 for the decade ahead, and insights into how systems transform. Forthcoming issue briefs will focus on the steps business can take to make itself more resilient to future shocks as well as reflections on how capitalism can and should change to enable a sustainable, inclusive future. You can find all outputs on our Vision 2050 platform.