These resources will help you to gather internal and external information and make use of future thinking tools to deepen your understanding of the strategic relevance of particular environmental and social issues, your operational and value chain impacts, and the opportunities for broader role your organisation could play in contributing to positive systems change.

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Understanding Corporate Sustainability

Embedded Strategies for the Sustainability Transition cover

Embedded Strategies for the Sustainability Transition

It is time for companies to take a very different approach to corporate strategy.

Our new Embedded Strategies guide helps companies respond to the growing calls for businesses to articulate their purpose and their strategy in alignment with the need to shift the global economy towards the reduction of inequality, a rapid climate transition, the preservation of biodiversity, and the elimination of waste.

This guide will help you to develop a contextual strategy and goals that ensure your company is doing its part to maintain the resilience of key social and environmental systems.

Building on our Road to Context guide with insights from 300+ interviews with senior executives, CEOs, board chairs, and directors, as well as our experiences supporting companies around the world, it outlines resources and tactics that can help your company to scan for emerging issues and risks; understand their implications for your business; understand your impacts and your potential for positive influence; prioritise where it makes sense to direct your efforts; and set your strategy and goals in alignment with delivering systems value.

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ENCORE (Exploring Natural Capital Opportunities, Risks, and Exposure)

ENCORE (Exploring Natural Capital Opportunities, Risks, and Exposure), a free tool from the Natural Capital Finance Alliance, can help you to visualise how your business may be exposed to accelerating environmental change. The tool provides a snapshot of the dependencies and impacts for a wide range of sub-industries and processes, and includes fact sheets and maps to help you understand the links between business activities and nature.

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The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures

Momentum is growing for organisations to formally and transparently articulate the risks that climate change poses to the value of their assets and their future profitability. The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) emerged as a response to this call for action, empowering companies to more effectively measure and evaluate their own risks and those of their suppliers and competitors. The TCFD promoted “consistent, comparable, reliable, clear, and efficient” voluntary climate-related financial disclosures, and has developed comprehensive recommendations and resources in support of this. These resources focus on governance, strategy, risk, metrics, targets, and the use of scenario analysis for evaluating climate-related financial risks and opportunities.

The TCFD has produced a comprehensive Final Recommendations report and several supplemental reports, including a Technical supplement, which provides in-depth information and tools for using scenario analyses to understand the strategic implications of climate-related risks and opportunities to your organisation.

Although these resources remain to be an invaluable source of guidance, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and IFRS have announced that the TCFD has fulfilled its remit and disbanded, and that monitoring of the progress of corporate climate-related disclosures now rests with the IFRS Foundation's ISSB.

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The Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures

Reversing global nature loss depends on a shift in global financial flows away from nature-negative outcomes and toward nature-positive outcomes. This depends on large and small businesses across supply chains, financial institutions, and industries of all types collectively identifying, assessing, managing, and disclosing nature-related dependencies, impacts, risks, and opportunities. Towards meeting this inter-industrial challenge, the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) was established in 2021 in response to the growing need to factor nature into financial and business decisions.

The TNFD has developed a market-led, science-based risk management and disclosure framework for organisations to report and act on evolving nature-related risks and opportunities. The TNFD has also developed a Knowledge Bank that features a curated collection of the latest external resources and market insights on nature-related risks and opportunities.

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5 Steps to a Corporate Strategy That Delivers on Sustainability

To achieve the societal transformation we need, companies must do their part to embed sustainability into their core strategy. And that means focusing on more than shareholder value or even stakeholder value… It means focusing on systems value. We've created a straight-forward five-step process to help companies develop a truly embedded strategy.

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Defining True Sustainability

In this brief article, Cory Searcy suggests that companies must change how they view sustainability if they want to determine whether or not they are sustainable. He explains how most companies currently focus on reducing environmentally destructive or unethical behavior, and how they must instead assess their performance relative to thresholds linked to the economic, environmental, and social resources on which they rely. This is a great, quick read that will help you articulate the need for moving beyond the 'triple bottom line' and towards a context-based 'embedded view'.

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Scenario Planning for Climate Change: A Guide for Strategists

This book from Nardia Haigh takes a deep dive into climate change-related scenario planning and provides a framework that can help decision-makers develop a climate change strategy. The book builds on a range of rigorously tested scenario planning frameworks and provides a practical, four-step method for developing a scenario planning project. It also includes summaries of common climate change trends.

Her website also offers complementary videos, climate driver summaries, a sample scenario planning project proposal, and various worksheets to help you get started.

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Strategic Foresight Planner

This introductory guide on strategic foresight is a good, accessible primer for board members, executives, and other business leaders who want to grow their understanding of and capacity for long-term scanning and planning. It explains what foresight is, what it is not, and what it can achieve. It also provides an overview of some of the most common methods and tools for effective strategic foresight.

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Foresight Training Modules

These Foresight Training Modules were created by Policy Horizons Canada to help users build a better good understanding of foresight-related methodologies. The modules cover topics such as scanning, assumptions, and systems mapping, and they feature summaries, exercises, tip sheets, and even presentation and facilitation notes to support change agents in teaching this material to peers and leaders.

Although policymakers in government were the target audience for these modules, the content is equally applicable to educators and decision-makers in business.

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Foresight Frameworks and Tools

The Future Today Institute has created a wide range of simple and accessible tools to support companies and leadership teams in developing a culture of foresight. These frameworks, methodologies, and visualisations can help you to better understand - and convene discussions on - topics such as strategic thinking, trend forecasting, scenario planning, and more.

3 common pitfalls of using scenario analysis – and how to avoid them cover

3 common pitfalls of using scenario analysis – and how to avoid them

Climate-related scenario analysis is one of the best available tools for navigating an increasingly unknowable future, and yet common pitfalls are limiting its potential benefits to companies. This article from the CDP highlights three simple recommendations that will help you to make the most of scenario analysis: using a range of distinct and realistic scenarios; selecting the right scenarios for your organisation; and transparently reporting the results.

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Equitable Futures Toolkit

This toolkit aims to help you imagine a more equitable future through two different interactive approaches: through Institute For The Future (IFTF) Foresight Training and the Equitable Futures Card Game. These modular workshops would especially benefit sustainability practitioners who want to facilitate sessions with senior leaders. The tools included provide a novel way of helping participants to understand the factors impacting your business; to create meaningful social narratives that can guide strategy; to build awareness of the positive and negative consequences that your business has on the world around it; to develop an understanding of challenges to overcome and the values and tools needed to build a more equitable future; and more.

The Futures Toolkit: Tools for Futures Thinking and Foresight Across UK Government cover

The Futures Toolkit: Tools for Futures Thinking and Foresight Across UK Government

This toolkit was created by the UK's Government Office for Science to help acquaint policymakers and government officials with foresight and futures thinking and to help with the creation of scenarios. We specifically recommend pages 26-76, which highlight a broad range of tools that can help you to gather intelligence about the future; explore the dynamics of change; describe potential futures; and develop and test policies and strategy.

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Sustainable Development Goals Interactive Tool

IISD has developed a free interactive tool that directs users to SDG-related publications by region or goal. This tool provides insight into how the SDGs impact companies and communities around the world, and may be of particular use for companies with an international scope or those interested in entering new markets.

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CISL’s Business Transformation Framework: Preliminary Diagnostic

This tool from the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) can help you better understand how purpose-driven your business is. The Business Transformation Framework groups businesses into progressive categories: short-term self-interest; long-term self-interest (developing); long-term self-interest (mature); and purpose-driven. The self-reflective diagnostic tool can help you place your business along this continuum, as per an assessment indicators that includes organisational values, senior leadership, and financial management. This resource will be most useful to business leaders, change managers, and sustainability professionals seeking to drive business transformation.

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The Ceres Roadmap 360º

This assessment tool from Ceres was designed to help small- and medium-sized companies assess and improve their sustainability performance. The tool features free, user-friendly, self-guided learning modules on management, engagement, and sustainability issues; additional modules can be unlocked with a premium account. The tool also produces customised reports that include a scorecard, best practice recommendations, and useful resources that can help you to embed sustainability into your strategic planning processes, governance systems, and decision-making.

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Global Leadership in the Age of Turbulence

This report can help you understand the leadership challenge of our time—that is, the scale and complexity of “preserving human civilization." The report summarises the main insights from the 2024 Global Leadership Summit, including discussions of major trends related to geopolitics, innovation, governance, and economics. It then provides recommendations for leaders to enable a societal transition, which include accelerating innovation and the deployment of proven technologies; advocating for a new economic system that prioritises the social and environmental foundations that society is built on; and engaging citizens by repairing trust in political and corporate-level decision-making. These insights encourage a wider view of context and a longer view of history, which will be especially useful to business leaders.

Understanding Just and Regenerative Futures

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The Social Foundation: 'A Safe and Just Place for Humanity'

Kate Raworth's “Doughnut” model is a key framework for understanding sustainability context. Building on the planetary boundaries framework as a 'ceiling', it adds social foundations as a 'floor' and underlines the need to operate in the space between. The social foundation is made up of 11 boundaries that draw attention to communities needing access to basic resources to fulfill their human needs. This access needs to be achieved in a way that does not place undue stress on the earth's resources. The framework is based on the premise that we should be striving to build and maintain social foundations while staying within planetary boundaries.

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Planetary Boundaries: 'Let the environment guide our development'

First introduced in 2009, this framework identifies and quantifies nine planetary boundaries (or thresholds) which regulate the stability and resilience of the earth. Crossing these boundaries may generate abrupt and irreversible environmental changes that threaten the earth’s capacity to support human life. Tipping points have already been reached for climate change, biodiversity, land-system change, and the nitrogen cycle. In this TED talk, Johan Rockstrom from the Stockholm Resilience Centre introduces the framework, explores how human growth has strained resources, and explains how the global community can prioritise and scale solutions.

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The Nine Boundaries Humanity Must Respect to Keep the Planet Habitable

This article provides a summary of the Planetary Boundaries Framework and explores the environmental transformations of the Anthropocene era, the early indicators of systems under stress and threatening collapse, the compounding effect of feedback loops, and crucial next steps. If you are new to the concept of planetary boundaries and thresholds, this is a good introduction.

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A Good Life For All Within Planetary Boundaries

This tool allows you to explore and compare "national snapshots" of the resource use associated with countries meeting the basic needs of their peoples. This will help you to understand and compare national performance relative to the Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries so that you can better prioritise your sustainability-related efforts.

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A Compass for a Just and Regenerative Business

This guidebook from Forum for the Future and WBCSD will help leaders and change agents to understand the vision of a just and regenerative future and the shift in mindset and activities required to get there. The guide provides a robust definition of what being just and regenerative means for businesses, introduces a compass that will help you to identify the stage your business is in (risk mitigation, zero harm, do good, or just and regenerative), and illustrates what a credible maturation arc can look like on a range of key issues. They have also created a supplemental report, the Guide to Critical Shifts, which can help you understand the critical shifts businesses can make to adopt a just and regenerative mindset. These guide will be useful across your organisation, with specific guidance provided for procurement, operations, marketing, finance, and leadership professionals, and more.

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A People's Orientation to a Regenerative Economy

This guide from the United Frontline Table is an excellent starting point for understanding what a "regenerative economy" is and how your company can play its part in achieving it. It provides nuanced definitions for a range of intersecting issues and phenomena, including Climate Justice, Feminist Economies, Sacrifice Zones, and a Just Recovery and Just Transition. It introduces five critical points of intervention that will help to develop your narrative of positive contribution and shape policies that will uplift people and communities. The guide also includes a series of prompting questions, a framework for policies that will help you to advance a regenerative economy, and fourteen themes (or planks) that must be addressed to achieve a regenerative economy.

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The Climate Justice Playbook for Business

Putting people and justice at the center of business efforts to address climate change is imperative to achieving the actions necessary to reduce and reverse its impacts on communities, the environment, and industry. B Lab’s Climate Justice Playbook for Business is a good starting point for understanding and enacting climate justice. It provides a sound business case for climate justice, features case studies of climate justice in action, and addresses key obstacles, insights, and questions. It also identifies the key stakeholders and rights holders who your business should collaborate with to maximise the scale and scope of your contributions to achieving a just transition.

Making Peace with Nature: A scientific blueprint to tackle the climate, biodiversity and pollution emergencies cover

Making Peace with Nature: A scientific blueprint to tackle the climate, biodiversity and pollution emergencies

This UNEP synthesis report can help you to better understand how climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution can be tackled jointly within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. The report provides a translation of current scientific knowledge into accessible and actionable information. The report identifies the shifts needed to close gaps between current actions and those needed to achieve sustainable development, and although the information is most useful to policymakers, the content here clarifies the kinds of activities that businesses should elevate and support to credibly address intersecting environmental crises.

Indigenous Relations: Insights, Tips & Suggestions to Make Reconciliation a Reality cover

Indigenous Relations: Insights, Tips & Suggestions to Make Reconciliation a Reality

This book from Bob Joseph, founder and President of Indigenous Corporate Training Inc., is a good starting point for understanding preferred Indigenous terms; common myths and stereotypes about Indigenous Peoples; Indigenous worldviews and barriers to employment; Aboriginal Rights and Title; the differences between types of Indigenous leadership; and the effects of UNDRIP on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. The book also introduces a training model (RESPECT) that will help you to build effective relationships with Indigenous Peoples. This resource will be of particular benefit to leaders and communications professionals working for organisations with operations in North America.

Other Resources

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Liberating Structures

There are five conventional structures that guide the way we organise routine interactions and how groups work together: presentations, managed discussions, open discussions, status reports, and brainstorm sessions. These structures, however, can stifle inclusion and engagement, and are often too inhibiting or too loose and disorganised. To complement these more conventional options and improve shared knowledge and engagement, Liberating Structures introduces a menu of 33 innovative methods. Each method includes expected outcomes, step-by-step instructions, "tips and traps," examples, and more.