System transformations

Our planet faces enormous economic, social and environmental challenges and despite important progress, no country is on track to achieve all SDGs by 2030. Awareness is growing that the SDGs, the Paris Agreement and sustainable development beyond 2030 can only be achieved through transformational change and that without these transformations we will never achieve truly socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable economies and societies.

Tackling these systemic issues requires a systems-based approach. Achieving systems change – the “intentional process designed to alter the status quo by shifting and realigning the form and function of a targeted system” – is highly complex, it requires large-scale and fundamental transformations of the societal systems driving current environmental and social pressures. Such transformations will require changes in current institutions, practices, technologies, policies, lifestyles and thinking.

The identified “systems transformations” that are needed to put society and our economy on a sustainable path include:

  • Food and land-use transformation
  • Urban and mobility transformation
  • Energy transformation
  • Social transformation
  • Circular transformation
  • Digital transformation
  • Financial system transformation

Business can play a key role in leading these transformations by creating sustainable, inclusive and innovative solutions. However, businesses managing these deep and long changes require roadmaps that are rooted in the pathways to sustainable futures. Benchmarks developed by the World Benchmarking Alliance provide exactly these roadmaps. Benchmark methodologies translate societal expectations into metrics, providing companies with a clear path forward. Benchmarks and league tables in turn show where industries and individual companies stand in their journey towards a more sustainable future.