At Forum for the Future we have set our vision as a just and regenerative future, and our mission is to accelerate the transition towards it.

A just and regenerative approach means strengthening the capacity of all living systems to adapt, replenish and regenerate; respecting everyone’s human rights and potential to thrive; and rewiring our economies and societies to serve both people and the planet.

We describe this using a ’three horizons' framework.

Forum for the Future’s vision of a more just and regenerative future (‘horizon 3’ or H3), in which we have tackled today’s challenges (‘horizon 1’ / H1: a planet in crisis; an unequal society; an economic model based on short-termism) by following three ‘transition pathways’ (‘horizon 2’ / H2: replenishing ecosystems; promoting universaL rights and dignity; reconfiguring systems and reshaping the economy).

Today, Horizon 1 is deeply problematic. We do not see ourselves as indigenous, or nested as part of planet earth, so we are driven by an economic model that extracts and degrades systems, undermining the capacity of the planet and human societies to support us into the future. This has resulted in:
  • Overheating of the planet, a climate emergency, degrading ecosystems and nature in crisis;
  • Structural causes of mounting inequality with huge human costs; and
  • An economic model which puts natural resources and people at the service of economic growth, rather than the economy serving people and the planet.
Horizon 3: Our vision of a just and regenerative future
In a just and regenerative future, we have transformed our understanding of the relationships between the economy, society and planet, and enabling the capacity of all living beings to thrive is fundamental.  Key features of this world are:
  • Everything is nature: humans, and the economy and society we have created, are part of nature;
  • Thriving people: systems and ways of living support everyone’s universal rights and potential to thrive;
  • Redefined economy: the economy creates and distributes value fairly, with economic models that prioritise human well-being and ecosystem health; and
  • Capacity: social and environmental systems are resilient, with capacity to adapt to future challenges.
Horizon 2 provides the transition pathways. Of course there will be many – and many yet to be discovered – but we highlight pathways that:
  • Stabilise climate and restore and replenish our ecosystems.
  • Promote dignity, fulfilment and equity for everyone, which includes:
  • Ensuring fairness, resilience and vitality across generations and geographies
  • Respecting the universality of human rights and addressing structural barriers in each context, so that people claim and enjoy their full rights.
  • Develop capacities for resilience.
  • Reconfigure multiple systems we are part of (from economy, energy, health, food etc.) and how they are transitioning.
  • Unleash new, fairer ways to recognise, create and distribute value and new economic models that prioritise human wellbeing and ecosystem health over economic growth or short-term profit maximisation.
The Horizon 2 pathways will take an approach to change that works with these principles:
  • Appreciate the greater whole: focus on the overall health of the greater whole we are part of, and not just on a narrow set of specific outcomes.
  • Uncover potential: start with potential not problems. Instead of only honing in on what is wrong or lacking, begin with a broad view of the latent possibility in the system you are considering to evolve and recognise its greater potential, while not ignoring any problems you find.
  • Value context: value the conditions, history and lived experience that have shaped your context, and design your interventions based on a deep understanding of this.
  • Unlock participation: rake an authentically participatory approach: truly value the potential and dignity of all by finding meaningful ways to co-create interventions.
In developing our vision and definition, we have wrestled with many issues and drawn on the thinking and practice of many others. Our paper shares more on how and why we got here, and some of the trade-offs we have wrestled with. 

Published 5 August 2022.