The Challenge

Our environmental and social challenges have for too long outpaced the ability of businesses to respond. We’ve seen some progress, but it remains incremental with too many leaders continuing to focus only on maximising short-term profits for shareholders while missing longer-term opportunities to transform their operations. This is fuelling an extractive economy and, in turn, putting the longer-term viability and prosperity of our planet, our society and businesses themselves, at risk. 

There is appetite for change. 

86% of business leaders see sustainability as an investment that protects their organisation from disruption, and 83% say their sustainability activities are directly creating both short and long-term value for their companies. Promising, yet only 9% of CEOs put environmental sustainability among their top three business priorities. What’s more, the majority of 2,000 global companies tracked by the World Benchmarking Alliance have, as yet, set no explicit sustainability goals

Put another way, businesses need to step up if they are to survive today and thrive tomorrow. 

And this starts with visionary leadership. 

Our Approach

As a non-profit, we offer a distinctive approach to strategy development - leveraging our role as a trusted and ‘critical’ friend to support businesses in navigating the complex challenges they, society and the planet, face. 

Our skills, expertise and experience in systems thinking can make a real difference in inspiring the visionary leadership needed to drive transformation change in the purpose of business. We can support you to adopt a just and regenerative mindset, define your change-making purpose and understand what’s needed to truly embed, live and deliver purpose-led change.

A 'just and regenerative' mindset is one that: recognises planetary boundaries, seeks to create and distribute value in new ways; Understands that humans are a fundamental part of nature, respects everyone's universal rights and potential to thrive and recognises the fundamental importance of systems change.

Examples of Our Work

Our team is able to inform senior level business strategy and scale-up the impact of a business on areas such as product innovation, influencing consumer demand, reshaping markets through collaboration, and influencing policy through advocacy. Areas that ultimately lead to change across entire sectors and systems. 

We have worked with businesses through one-to-one strategy work, coaching and capacity building for senior business leaders and c-suite executives, and through industry and cross-industry collaborations. Examples include: 

  • Drawing on the Business Transformation Compass framework — created in partnership with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and with input from the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), Unilever, Nestle, Ingka Group (IKEA), Kimberly-Clark, Seventh Generation, SIG and Capgemini - as well as sustainability leaders such as Bill Reed, Marjorie Kelly and Bill Sharpe — to support Bupa in the creation of their new sustainability strategy. Underpinned by action across a wider range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics, including being a responsible business and promoting inclusion and diversity, Bupa’s strategy recognises that people cannot thrive on an unhealthy planet, and aims to deliver co-benefits for both   
  • Joining forces with leading healthcare businesses Bupa, Haleon, Reckitt and Walgreens Boots Alliance in the Climate and Health Coalition to mobilise and equip the private sector to accelerate the integrated transformation of our health and climate systems
  • Partnering with Unilever as a ‘critical friend’ for more than 25 years. Over this period, we’ve helped shape both of Unilever’s ground-breaking sustainability strategies — the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan and the Unilever Compass — and provided guidance on implementing each in ways that catalyse deeper, systemic change
  • Using our applied futures tools to support Diageo in developing their ambitious Society 2030 strategy
  • Running sustainability-focuses capability building workshops for leaders of a global pharmaceutical business.

What Our Partners Say

    “Forum played a key role in shaping our Sustainable Living Plan. As independent outsiders, they bring in new thinking and help keep us honest. Forum brings not only its intellectual power but also…the right coalitions to achieve our targets; helping us move further and faster.” Paul Polman, former Unilever CEO and Honorary Chair, International Chamber of Commerce.

    Get in Touch 

    Interested in resetting the purpose of business? Get in touch with Gemma Bridgman, Forum's Principal Sustainability Strategist.