The operating environment for sustainable business is being radically transformed by a diverse set of powerful and complex interacting forces. From climate disruption to automation to artificial intelligence, these changes are rapidly creating an entirely new operating environment for business. Business—and the well-being of people and the planet—will depend on new strategies for the future that account for the profound changes underway and imagine transformative new opportunities to create a more just and sustainable world.
In conditions of rapid change, scenarios offer a powerful way to explore multiple distinct possibilities. Rather than predicting what the world will be, they provide stories of alternate futures that combine research into drivers of change, with informed speculation about how key uncertainties could play out.
Scenarios are not predictions or forecasts. The scenarios in this report are organized around two critical uncertainties: Will the forces of centralization or decentralization prevail? Will we stick with the current economic paradigm of endless growth and profit maximization, or will we shift toward a new paradigm that views the purpose of the economy as providing for equitable prosperity on a healthy planet?
Each scenario imagines how different answers to these questions might shape the future.