What is the future of sustainability? NOW is the time to reset our ambition

What is the future of sustainability?


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More than three decades of ‘sustainability’ have not got us where we need to be. At the start of 2022, it’s a disturbing and uncomfortable truth, and while much progress has been made, it’s clear we are not yet seeing the deep transformation that is urgently needed.

Our fundamental systems are no longer fit for purpose, according to Forum for the Future, the UK’s leading international sustainability non-profit. Forum specialise in addressing critical global challenges by catalysing change in key systems, from food to apparel, energy to shipping, and they do this by convening transformational collaborations to drive change, by partnering with organisations to help them lead by example, and by building a global community of trailblazers and change makers.

Forum for the Future’s latest Future of Sustainability thinking reflects on what the past can teach us about what is needed now if we are to shape a more just and regenerative future. Forum believes the time is ripe for change and that it is critical that we reset our ambition – looking beyond incremental approaches and tweaking within the current system to create true transformation. But this transformation will only be realized if we can look back with humility, learn from the past, come to terms with the fact that we have already reached and far exceeded the boundaries of our current system, and recognise that there is great disruption ahead.

In an early  interview with Forum for the Future founder director Jonothon Porritt, he told NOW,   “We already know everything we need to know to ensure a sustainable world for nine billion people by 2050, but IT MUST BE NOW that we have to get on and implement it just as fast as possible.”   

In Is there Hope in Hell?, NOW spotlighted Jonothon’s book Hope in Hell – A Decade to Confront The Climate Emergency.  It is a powerful ‘call to action’ and eloquently sets out the reality of the hell ahead and the compelling grounds for hope IF we can change course fast enough.   

NOW is the time to reset our ambition.  It is disturbingly overdue.

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