BSR logo

How We Work

Sustainable Futures Lab

The Sustainable Futures Lab helps businesses navigate an increasingly turbulent world by creating more resilient and sustainable strategies.

Sustainable Futures Lab Overview


What Is Futures Thinking?


Strategic foresight, also known as futures thinking, provides a structured approach that enables people and organizations to overcome cognitive biases and think more realistically about change. It helps us uncover blind spots, imagine radically different futures, and improve decision-making today. Futures thinking also builds broader capacity within an organization to understand and engage with sustainability and can provide a platform for internal alignment and collaboration among sustainability teams and other strategic functions.



The Case for Futures Thinking


Profound and accelerating changes, such as climate disruption, artificial intelligence, and automation, are rapidly transforming the landscape for business and sustainability. Companies can no longer assume that the past will be a good predictor of the future, and those that fail to anticipate and prepare for radically new possibilities may face sudden irrelevance.

Conventional approaches to strategic planning that rely on single-point forecasts run the risk of offering precision at the expense of accuracy and are inadequate to comprehend and prepare business for truly disruptive change. Given we do not have data from the future, different ways of thinking are required to prepare for the possibilities.   


Sustainable Futures Lab Service Offerings

BSR’s Sustainable Futures Lab was created to enable foresight-driven engagement with disruptive change in order to help businesses spot emerging issues early, explore different possible futures, and develop more resilient and sustainable strategies.

Scenario planning

Scenario Planning

Scenario planning is a rigorous futures methodology enabling organizations to engage with uncertainty and ensure that strategic planning is robust across a wide range of possible future developments. It is based on the development and exploration of future scenarios—a set of plausible alternate futures in which today’s decisions may play out. These can then be used to test and improve strategy, drive innovation, and guide planning.

 

TCFD logo

TCFD Climate Scenario Analysis

In 2017, the FSB Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) issued recommendations that public companies undertake a process of climate scenario analysis, both for understanding strategic implications of climate-related risks and opportunities and for informing stakeholders about how the organization is positioning itself in light of these risks and opportunities. This special application of scenario planning not only provides useful information to investors, lenders, insurers, and other stakeholders, but also offers a valuable method to ensure a company’s strategy is resilient to climate-related physical, liability, and transition risks.


Future proofing

Future-Proofing Materiality

Traditional materiality assessments are a useful tool to bring clarity and alignment around sustainability priorities, but typically take a short-term perspective. A future-proofing process can be used to stress test material issues against plausible future developments in order to understand how key issues will change over time, ensure that significant emerging issues are not missed, identify potential blind spots that require attention, and develop more robust planning. For businesses that have already conducted a standard materiality assessment, this is an excellent next step to ensure that priorities are fit for the future and an easy way to start to integrate strategic foresight into sustainability strategy.

 

Strategci foresight

Strategic Foresight Intensive

The Strategic Foresight Intensive takes a cross-functional group of business leaders through a half-day interactive workshop, led by the Director of BSR's Sustainable Futures Lab, to introduce them to the fundamentals of strategic foresight, review megatrends reshaping the landscape for business and sustainability, discuss patterns and dynamics of change, explore emerging issues confronting the business, and identify areas requiring attention. It is designed to help senior decision-makers better understand the strategic value of sustainability, learn how to do futures thinking, and prioritize issues facing the business that most require strategic foresight.


Our Insights on Sustainable Futures Lab

Redefining Sustainable Business: Management for a Rapidly Changing World

Reports

Redefining Sustainable Business: Management for a Rapidly Changing World

This report provides a guide for sustainability practitioners to create resilient business strategies, governance, and management so that their companies are fit for a disruptive world.

Read More 


Five Trends Defining the Future of Retail

Blog

Five Trends Defining the Future of Retail

Retail is changing in complex ways, and the future will look quite different from today. We need to prepare now for new challenges, but also for new opportunities to drive more sustainable consumption patterns, promote diversity and inclusion, and meet emerging consumer needs.

Read More 


How Futures Thinking Can Help Us Shape Globalization 4.0

Blog

How Futures Thinking Can Help Us Shape Globalization 4.0

Futures thinking is an invaluable tool in informing and testing strategies for the next era of globalization.

Read More 


Are You Prepared for the Future of Business and Human Rights?

Blog

Are You Prepared for the Future of Business and Human Rights?

Futures and strategic foresight methodologies offer a new way to promote respect for human rights and the freedoms they protect.

Read More 



See All Insights

Meet the Team

Jacob Park

Jacob Park

Director, Sustainable Futures Lab

New York



Talk to Us  
Contact the Sustainable Futures Lab team with any questions.