By Manjula Lee, CEO and Founder, World Wide Generation

As we move into another new year, our world is at a critical juncture. The global community faces a pivotal moment in our collective journey towards becoming a truly conscious 21st century generation. Social, economic, and environmental systems are teetering on the brink of irreversible decline, and the challenges we confront are vast, but so too are the opportunities to foster positive change. 

The current global focus on monetary gain, epitomised by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and increasing shareholder value, is no longer sustainable or equitable for humanity and our planet. We urgently need to shift our perspective by redefining what we consider success and progress to look like as a human species, so we leave a legacy (instead of a catastrophe) for the next generation and generations to come.

The United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a comprehensive universal framework that emphasizes holistic social, economic and environmental well-being over pure monetary success. Standardizing sustainability metrics around SDGs will unlock unprecedented levels of collaboration, solve poverty, inequality and the health of our planet all simultaneously in this remaining decade of action. In fact, SDGs could unlock $12Tn p/a in market opportunities by 2030. However, until now we did not have the technology, standardised reporting and monitoring and evaluation tools, without which, we couldn’t unlock trusted, comparable and timely sustainability data, and thus the finance and solutions could not flow at scale. It was for these reasons that we created the G17Eco platform, as a global coordination platform and we launched the world’s largest and truly global sustainability data, finance and solutions exchange with our partners, and our keystone partner for MENA Etisalat (e&) at COP28. I would love to share with Brandberries readers, “3 letters that will save the planet”, a video from my recently delivered Oxford talk that summarises my predictions of what needs to change in 2024 and how we can make this happen. It hasn’t been released to the public yet and Brandberries readers can get an early preview here.

These are my top 5 predictions and recommendations for 2024:

1- SEE Must Make A Return

Standard setters and policy makers will start to replace the current ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance), or a purely emissions tracking carbon tunnel vision strategy, with a return to what has always been the primordial trinity of sustainable development which has been SEE (Social, Economic, Environmental) in order to achieve integrated, holistic, sustainability problem solving and reporting.  This is already happening with the IFRS’ ISSB standards and regulation to integrate financial with non-financial reporting. Similarly, governments will need to make a shift from measuring GDP which is purely economical to their holistic SEE contribution to the SDGs (1. No Poverty, 2. Zero Hunger, 3. Good Health and Well-being 4. Quality Education 5. Gender Equality 6. Clean Water and Sanitation, 7. Affordable and Clean Energy 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 10. Reduce Inequalities 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action 14. Life Below Water 15. Life on Land 16. Peace Justice and Strong Institutions 17. Partnership for the Goals).  

2- Moving to nature-based, circular and ethical solutions

In various sectors such as energy, healthcare, construction, mobility, and technology, as well as in our efforts to preserve and regenerate society, the economy, and the environment, we will start to look to nature for the solution rather than man made artificial products and solutions, this term is called biomimicry. Moreover, any sustainable and conscious brands delivering as close to 100% natural and recycled products with ethical supply chains will become the next generation of Fortune x organisations. 

3- Good governance and ethics will need to be coupled with breakthroughs and advancements in tech innovation

While its undeniable all forms of technology especially AI, blockchain and IoT will play a pivotal role in steering us towards a sustainable future with speed, efficiency, transparency and intelligence for more informed decision making and inspiring more creativity, all technology will need strong governance, cyber security, ethical policies and frameworks so it’s used for good and not harm. 

4- Sustainable finance products and instruments will become mainstream

Investors and lenders will increasingly prioritise projects, organisations and nations that can demonstrate a commitment to positive Social, Economic, Environmental (SEE) impact. We will also see a rise in new financial instruments and models, such as tokenisation, faith or values-based investing and even moving from debt to royalty, revenue and profit share models.

5-Personal transformation and well-being will be the key to unlock and accelerate change

For any of the above changes to happen, the most important change is us, the inner change. Personal transformation can and does have global effects. The revolution that will save the world is ultimately a personal one. We will see an increase in well-being and mindfulness for individuals and employees, improving mental, physical and spiritual health, and therefore without having to wait for government and corporate leaders to change, our commitment to our own personal transformation for purpose and consciousness enables us to become leaders, and our choice becomes our strongest voice for the brands we choose, and consumption choices we make. 

Although the world is currently in so much chaos right now, I am optimistic that we are already starting to SEE the change, and individuals all over the world are doing the work, and as I always say if we heal ourselves we heal the planet, and in my daily job as CEO of World Wide Generation I am SEEing a lot of Healing going on all over the world. The future does look very bright.