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Introduction to The Sustainability Revolution

Welcome to the first module of the Better Business Acceleration Program. In this module, you will get a basic understanding of the Sustainability Revolution, and why it is so important for us as business leaders going forward. 

Planetary boundaries are now being exceeded beyond what is known as safe for life on Earth. Actions so far have been insufficient, but are now gaining momentum. The Sustainability Revolution is upon us with the same intensity and impact as the digital revolution before it. How should we understand this? And, what are the forces at play? This module will help you get a basic understanding of the underlying factors, and how we got here in the first place. Because, in co-creating business relevant solutions to address some of these challenges, we will first need to try to understand some of the very basics.


Key learning points:

  • The Sustainability Revolution
  • The Great Acceleration
  • The unintended consequences of the Great Acceleration
  • Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals
  • The power of social tipping points


We will start off with a few wise words from the World Economic Forum: "Like the digital revolution before it, the sustainability revolution promises to change everything. Yet, just as with digital, many companies are moving too slowly, taking an incremental approach to a challenge that demands a radical rethink."

Hence, the changes ahead of us may be more like a revolution than an evolution over time. Simply because we need to act now to mitigate the triple planetary crisis, and have a chance to reach the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 as agreed by all nations in the UN.

The triple planetary crisis refers to the three main interlinked issues that humanity currently faces: climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss. Each of these issues has its own causes and effects, and each issue needs to be resolved if we are to have a viable future on this planet.

A brutal fact that we cannot afford to ignore, is that we are currently consuming more than is sustainable on this planet. This is simply the unintended consequence of the industrialization, and the great acceleration.

In fact, we live in what has become known as 'the Age of the Anthropocene' - an era where humankind is the dominant shaping force on Earth. As such we have made a considerable footprint on the planet. 

In this module we will look into what is called 'the Great Acceleration' to understand this development and its unintended consequences. I will go through some of the basics of this planetary crisis to help you grasp its origins, and the urgency of the matter. I will also show you the power of social tipping points, why this is an important force to take into consideration, and where consumers, investors and policy makers are going.

At the end of the module, you will be asked to do the Futures Wheel exercise to explore the first and second hand impacts of the Sustainability Revolution on your industry or company. You will find this exercise in the program workbook.

So, let us wrap our heads around the vast challenges of the Sustainability Revolution in the next few lessons.