What does the world need to achieve sustainable, inclusive growth?

Edited by: IAAS Secretary

In November, hundreds of corporate CEOs and heads of state convened in Bali, Indonesia, for the B20 global business summit. The topics on the agenda this year revolved around three interconnected goals: sustainability, inclusion, and economic growth.

Far from being in conflict with one another, these three goals could be mutually reinforcing. A sustainable world could contain climate change and preserve natural capital and biodiversity. Inclusivity would create economic opportunities and shared progress for everyone. And while some believe that economic growth
is incompatible with fighting climate change, it is necessary to produce the financial resources needed to create a sustainable, inclusive world – provided that those resources are used correctly.

To estimate the scope of the challenges ahead, we examined two crucially important indicators. First, we measured the sustainability gap, which is the additional investment in low-emissions technologies that every country must make to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Another indicator, which we call the empowerment gap, equals the consumption level required to meet basic needs like food and energy, have discretionary income beyond the essentials, and be able to weather emergencies.

To close these gaps, economic growth would have to be bolstered by additional forces. Business-led innovation, for starters, could alter the current growth model in ways that are more oriented to inclusion and sustainability.
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