Sydney, 13 December 2019: BCSD Australia and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) co-hosted a half-day business dialogue on Vision 2050, which WBCSD is currently refreshing with the leadership and support of 40 of its members.
Participants from 30 companies and organizations explored local sustainable development priorities, how global trends will affect companies operating in Australia, and the role of business in driving the kind of transformational systems change required to enable over 9 billion people to live well, within planetary boundaries by 2050.
WBCSD’s Julian Hill-Landolt and Linden Edgell provided an overview of WBCSD’s ambition and approach to refresh its Vision 2050 and shared key findings to date. Building on these latest insights, participants had the chance to discuss the challenges and opportunities that business must work to overcome and leverage in the transformation of major systems such as food, energy or mobility. Participants also considered how global trends will affect not only the operating environment for business in Australia over the next ten years, and therefore how these trends will affect business’ ability to act on sustsainable development priorities.
The session took place at the same time as the state of New South Wales was experiencing its worst bushfires ever. Overall, the fires burned nearly 20 million hectares of Australia, killing hundreds of millions of wild animals, and causing significant damage to communities and livelihoods across the country.
The discussions centered on how corporate Australia could accelerate progress against sustainable development challenges and play a stronger leadership role when political action at a national and state level was not aligned. This included raising awareness and increasing the competence of Corporate Boards to respond to stronger disclosure and ESG requirement from regulators.
As with other dialogues in countries with strong natural resource sectors, the role and importance of nature and natural resources was discussed extensively. Perhaps as a result of the bushfires, there was also plenty of encouragement for WBCSD to be more ambitious in its narrative around the planetary boundaries, with participants pushing for more explicit references to regeneration within the Vision.
Other topics of discussion included the role of tourism in economies that are transforming away from, for instance, natural resources, the importance of education, not just of societies but also as another means of economic growth for transformational economies, and the need for social inclusion and just transition to be prominently featured in the refreshed Vision 2050. It was also interesting to explore the role that indigenous populations (first nations) can play in designing approached to everything from leadership and ethics to health, well-being and lifestyles.
According to Andrew Petersen, CEO, BCSD Australia, “engagement by Australia in the refresh reinforces the truly global exploration of the sustainable development agenda by WBCSD to make Vision 2050 a true statement of intent championed by business across all geographies, all communities and all societies."
The dialogue was part of WBCSD’s effort to engage its Global Network partners across the world in a roadshow around Vision 2050, aiming to incorporate the varying impacts and importance of sustainability challenges across countries and to rally companies of all sizes around a positive, opportunity-based, action agenda it needs for the decade to come, in support of the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and beyond.
About BCSD Australia
BCSD Australia is a CEO-led organization of more than 40 Australian businesses and non-governmental bodies working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world by aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals and acting on climate change.
BCSD Australia is a partner of WBCSD’s Global Network, an alliance of more than 60 CEO-led business organizations worldwide. The Network, encompassing some 5,000 companies, is united by a shared commitment to provide business leadership for sustainable development in their respective countries and regions.