Some years ago I worked for Forum for the Future in their sustainable economy programme. At that time, I largely worked with large corporates on accounting for environmental and sustainability impacts. We used the five capitals model (social, human, natural, financial, manufacturing) as a way to identify and measure impact. I was always searching for ways to understand the synergies and inter-linkages across the capitals, rather than trading off between them.
At the launch of Forum for Future’s new Sustainable Economy Framework, I was delighted to find that the new model is rooted in an holistic and systemic approach in a 6 step process. Experience the need for change, diagnose the system; create pioneering practices; enable the tipping; sustain the transition; and set the rules for the new mainstream. Sounds rather like the conversations that go on at Schumacher College.
The new Sustainable Economy Framework revolves around a series of planetary boundaries or tipping points developed by the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Forum for the Future have extended the concept of ecological tipping points into the social and political arena. Living within safe ecological boundaries and with stable social and political foundations, is becoming the new language of sustainability for the 21st century.
On the MA in Economics for Transition, our students are introduced to the concept of ecological thresholds and tipping points early on in their studies. Having a deep understanding of ecology and systems thinking is critical for understanding the complex social, economic and ecological challenges of the 21st century.