A sustainable wish list for the new year
THIS year marks the midway point to the 2030 deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals – the economic, social and environmental targets set by all countries at the United Nations in 2015.
The current UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has been talking about the need to ‘rescue’ the goals amid compounding crises. From a global perspective, these past three years have been quite extraordinary with the unnerving combination of a pandemic, energy crisis, rising inflation and geopolitical tensions intensifying.
After 30 years of relative calm and dependability, many are entering this year wondering what certainties are left. While numerous comparisons have been made with the era of the early 1970s – in terms of energy shocks, supply-side restrictions and slowing productivity – we believe that our world is further complicated by a globally entwined economy which is increasingly financially leveraged and, for the sake of the planet and the future of humankind, carbon-constrained.
Building a roadmap for a brighter future
Rather than live in a world that fascinates on how we got to this point or, more worryingly, seeks to apportion blame, our wish is to look forward and keep a firm eye on the horizon as well as the longer-term opportunities that exist.
We recognise that working out how to respond to the current moment and developing the path ahead is extraordinarily difficult but we are certain of one thing: it requires boldness. This starts with our elected officials. The time has come to think about the politics of possibility and the possibility of politics. There is not an issue we need to address that political leadership does not touch.
The private sector, of course, has an equally important role to play. For example, we need innovative companies to emerge which can further harness the game-changing potential of technologies, such as artificial intelligence and bioengineering. It seems to us we are on the cusp of an era where these two sectors may combine to create another big surge of progress, benefitting us all.
Finally, each of us has a contribution to make. Our wish is to have an increasingly engaged civic society, one which considers the role it can play as we transition to a world of increasing energy efficiency, a vastly different approach to transportation and a much greater focus on sustainable nutrition.