Business as usual is not cutting it, and neither are the current corporate sustainability ratings according to the Future-Fit Business Benchmark guide. The guide is a result of a collaborative effort led by The Natural Step Canada and the 3D Investment Foundation, and is authored by Geoff Kendall and Bob Willard. They emphasize the need for more ambitious goals if businesses are to achieve true sustainability, which they call being “future-fit.” Styled as public draft 1.0, the authors call for feedback on the system of principles they identify for gauging how future fit an organization is. The guide also presents 28 goals divided into 9 different categories as the goals to which businesses ought to aspire to be fit for our future. After public comment, those working on defining what it means to be future fit will develop performance indicators. They will release a new comment draft every 2-3 months, with a finished product anticipated later in 2015. Below is the conceptualization of the Future-Fit framework.

The Future-Fit concept is a way for businesses to be a part of solving the large-scale problems we face. The guide highlights the dramatic problems in the world ranging from social inequities to resource scarcity. Even though there is greater awareness, the authors recognize the gap between knowledge and action. Not only is business as usual not enough, they say that “change as usual” is not enough. Many companies are underestimating the amount of work that needs to be done. According to the authors, the existing rating systems for corporations are unhelpful because they have measurements relative to baseline years, best practices, or a company’s short-term targets. Holding these up as acceptable goals results in minor improvements. Doing better than last year or not being as bad as the next guy will not be enough to solve the problems at hand.   

The bold new Future-Fit benchmark is rooted in scientific research and gives a better sense of the minimum everyone must do to ensure a prosperous future. A Future-Fit company is one that does not have a negative effect. It is a company that can produce net positive economic, social, and environmental value. This regenerative approach requires a new minimum standard. The Future Fit Business Benchmark is just that.

Read public draft 1.0 of the Future-Fit Business Benchmark here and offer your input to make this benchmark even better!