Don’t get me wrong: I am glad that sustainability has finally become a trend. Pledges from countries and companies to become climate neutral within 10, 20, or 30 years are steps in the right direction, actions that should have been taken already half a century ago. And that’s just the first of the three problems:
Already today, we are at CO2 levels at 417ppm. This level means a further rise in temperatures, which means that we most likely will reach the cascading tipping points. And this means that even without further human intervention, the CO2 level would rise to more than 1200ppm, leading to a hothouse earth of at least 8°C above pre-industrial levels.
To be clear: If we stick to sustainability and climate neutrality goals, we’re doomed.
To stabilize our life on Earth, we need to change from climate-neutral goals to climate-positive goals. Those goals can only be reached by building a regenerative world.
My vision of a regenerative world in which our society thrives within planetary boundaries builds on the following four pillars:
Some companies lead the way, be it for the planet, for-profit, or both. In the fast fashion industry, we see incumbents such as H&M pioneering circular principles. With IKEA, another major material consumer is heading towards regenerative by accounting for their own footprint and their customers’ and their suppliers’ footprint. Even one step ahead: Patagonia, Sirplus, or Ben&Jerries. And Ecosia. The search engine already accounts for its suppliers and has even surpassed the 200% mark of renewables in its energy mix.
Entire industries are beginning to transform towards a regenerative world: The pioneers in the food sector are heavily investing in more regenerative systems such as vertical, precision, and regenerative farming, and plant-based proteins, which are now a mainstream alternative.
We are on the verge of a comprehensively new form of business and society. And that’s good because there is no alternative: The regenerative world is the only truly sustainable world for ten billion people soon living on our planet.