Economy and Finance for a Just Future on a Thriving Planet
“Whether humanity has the collective wisdom to navigate the Anthropocene to sustain a livable biosphere for people and civilizations, as well as for the rest of life with which we share the planet, is the most formidable challenge facing humanity.”
This was the key message and conclusion from the Nobel Prize Summit hosted in 2021. It resembles in many ways the outcomes of the Stockholm conference in 1972, the first ever United Nations conference on the human environment.
Fifty years have passed since that historic conference, and while the world is a very different place today the message remains the same. Astounding progress in human well-being for many and technological breakthroughs have come at the cost of growing social inequality and an increasingly evident climate crisis. Humanity has become a force of planetary change threatening to erode the fabric of life. Yet this daunting prospect of the future is countered by a growing desire to tackle these challenges applying insights from an increasingly vibrant field of sustainability sciences and a formidable human capacity to innovate. Rising to the challenge of securing a safe and prosperous future for all is still possible.
This report explores the role the financial sector and our globalized economy need to take to change course. It is a major task, and we present our views with urgency and humility. The insights presented here builds on decades of collaborative work within systems thinking, ecological economics, resilience science and Earth system science. It is based on the legacy of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, the Global Economic Dynamics and the Biosphere Program (both at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences), and the pathbreaking work done by colleagues associated with the Stockholm Resilience Centre (Stockholm University).
Stockholm+50 offers a unique opportunity for the world to reflect on its progress and failures since 1972. This report offers an important synthesis of how our economies and the financial sector can contribute to this reflection, all with the aim of accelerating towards a more sustainable and just future.