It’s time for a Future-Fit Business Benchmark. The reality of planetary boundaries presents one of the most daunting challenges of the twenty-first century. We are damaging the carrying capacity of the planet faster than it can repair itself. We are exceeding planetary boundaries. We are denying our nested interdependencies. For the first time in human history, the future of a healthy resilient human society is in question. This is not sustainable, neither for society nor for business.
The Amazon rainforest is magnificent. Watching programs about it, we’re amazed by brilliant parrots and toucans, tapirs, anacondas and jaguars. But if you ever go there expecting to be overwhelmed by a dazzling blur of activity, you’ll be disappointed. The jungle has plenty of vegetation — hanging vines, enormous trees, bromeliads and more — and a cacophony of insects and frogs. But much of the activity goes on at night or high up in the canopy.
Nature needs time to adjust and adapt to biosphere changes. After life appeared on Earth, atmospheric oxygen gradually went from zero to 20 per cent, oceans appeared and disappeared, mountains thrust upward and then eroded, continents moved on tectonic plates, climate cycled between ice ages and warm intervals, magnetic poles reversed and re-reversed. Life flourished because species and ecosystems evolved over time.
Our economic system has created great wealth and brought hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. But as we dig deeper, things get complicated. The system that we’ve relied on to create our prosperity in the past century is beginning to fail us.
Sustainability is about meeting the needs of today without compromising the needs of future generations. An economic system that shrinks the middle class and leaves more and more people behind is just as real a threat to our collective future as are climate change, resource scarcity and bio-diversity loss.
We have the power to reverse this trend and create a different future. It is time for a New Narrative where Citizens, Business People and Politicians alike all have a role to play in rethinking prosperity. The Corporate Sustainability movement has done incredible work in bringing some of these issues to the forefront – but is it enough?
DATE: Wednesday, November 12, 2014 (registration closes November 10th)
TIME: 4:30-7:30 EST (snacks & networking from 6:45-7:30)
NEW LOCATION: University of Toronto, Banting Institute, 100 College St., Rm 131
TWITTERCHAT: #tssschat from 5:15 – 6:00 PM EST
On November 12th, Chrystia Freeland, author of “Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else” and the Federal Member of Parliament (MP) for Toronto Centre will join TSSS to share her thoughts and ideas on the challenge of wealth concentration and our shrinking middle class while exploring our collective role in charting a new path forward.
During the event we will explore issues related to our current predicament:
* What is causing the trend towards wealth concentration and our shrinking middle class?
* Why are governments in a debt crisis while cash-rich corporations seem to be finding new ways to NOT pay their taxes?
* How does our current prosperity narrative keep us locked in unsustainable patterns?
* Why does government seem to have the needed funds to deal with a banking crisis but not a climate crisis?
And we will explore how we might go about creating A NEW WAY FORWARD:
* How can we change the conversation about what Canadian prosperity looks like?
* How do we get government policies to reflect the urgency that we feel towards an economic system that is beginning to fail us?
* How far can the Corporate Sustainability movement go towards solving this problem?
* How can companies become more impactful through their government relations channels?
* How can students and activists more effectively bring their ideas forward?