Our View of the World

The economy in 2030 and 2040 will need to be quite different from that of today. Big changes are needed in the way we power our world, construct our buildings, manufacture our products, grow our food, design our cities, and transport our goods. This transition is possible and will make life better and more just.

A view of the Gulf of Mexico from space. Golden lines of light crisscross the globe where cities are and there are some clouds.

Humanity has enjoyed great progress over the past half-century. Since 1970, global poverty rates have fallen from nearly 60% to 15%, and the average life expectancy worldwide has risen from 55 to over 70 years. Food production has consistently outpaced population growth.

But the price we've paid for these changes has been high. Over the same half century greenhouse gas emissions have doubled and climate change now poses a grave threat. And, while the human population has more than doubled since 1970, the populations of other vertebrates has fallen by more than half. The destruction of nature is damaging the ecosystems we depend on every day.

We believe there is a better path forward. There doesn’t need to be a trade-off between greater prosperity and a healthy environment. Research shows that smart action on climate change and nature can make our resource use more efficient, drive technological advance, reduce uncertainty, and open new investment opportunities. This can lead to more jobs, healthier citizens, less injustice, and better lives.

But small-scale change won’t deliver. The challenges we face are complex and require us to look at the bigger picture and transformational change. Reaching net-zero emissions and shifting to nature-positive development, while also focusing on reducing poverty and protecting the vulnerable will require changes across entire systems. These in turn will be driven by new technologies, shifts in government policy and corporate behavior, energetic citizen action, and new ways of thinking about the future. Broader transitions must also occur in how we measure progress, deliver basic services, and equitably distribute the costs and benefits of change.

Now is the time for bold actions from governments, companies, financial institutions, philanthropy, and citizens everywhere.

Small-scale change won’t deliver

Solving today’s big problems of climate change, food security, forest protection, ocean management etc, requires a systems approach. We track the 50 transformations that need to take place this decade. In each of these an array of factors must be addressed, and a range of actors are needed to drive a solution. There are rarely silver bullets – it’s a jigsaw puzzle.
Explore Systems Change

Our Newsletter

Stay Informed