The current unsustainable state of the Earth is largely caused by business so reconsidering the role of business in society-and-nature is crucial. Without transforming business into a progressive social institution which respects nature, future generations and the common good of society there is no chance for achieving a Sustainable Earth.
Social innovation has a vital role in the sustainability transformation of business and society. Environmentally non-harming and regenerative business solutions can be developed in close collaboration with local societies and societal organizations where the bottom line is value creation for all the stakeholders. Democratic participation in creating new, community-oriented governance mechanisms may foster the required value-shift in business, policy and technology development.
Achieving a Sustainable Earth requires new ways of thinking and acting which involve issues of how problems are defined, solutions generated, and implementation of solutions executed. Advanced soft systems methodologies should be used where problems are approached from different value perspectives, problem owners and stakeholders are carefully identified, the underlying worldviews or mindsets are critically evaluated, goals are specified, and the corresponding governance mechanisms are developed.
New information and communication technologies can be used to facilitate collaboration among academia, business, politics and civil society. The creation of an internet-enabled collaborative intelligence platform seems to be vital for the Future Earth project where the lattice of problems, possible solutions, corresponding policies and actions, and expected outcomes are mapped in an interconnected way.
Integrating different sources of knowledge and using a new epistemology are badly needed for the success of the Future Earth project. The best results of natural, social, and behavioral sciences can be used in parallel with the wisdom traditions of humankind and discoveries of contemporary arts to capture the complexity of life and humanity on Earth.
Knowledge is much more than representation of the world. It also provides inspiration for action. To change society for the better we need to activate and creatively employ all available sources of knowledge in favor of a Sustainable Earth.