News | 10th June 2019

Release 2.1 – What’s new?

By Astrid Fellingham

Over the past 18 months, we’ve been working with our Development Council partners and others to stress-test and strengthen several aspects of the Future-Fit Business Benchmark. Release 2.1 is the result of these efforts, building on and superseding Release 2. This article summarizes the most significant updates, which you can find more detail about in this document.

Methodology Guide

This document explains the scientific foundations and concepts underpinning the Benchmark, together with details of its key components and how they were derived.

Key changes in Release 2.1 are as follows:

  • Donella Meadows’ seminal work around systems has been more firmly integrated into the text. This includes guidance around how to think about systems, how a system can be characterized, what drives behaviour within a system, and how these concepts can be applied to explain how social systems function and how to transform them.
  • A Future-Fit Society is now precisely defined, in terms of seven core properties and an eighth enabling property. These changes make it easier to think about Future-Fit outcomes holistically and with respect to certain themes – energy, water, and so on – which both the Break-Even Goals and the Positive Pursuits contribute to.

Positive Pursuit Guide

This document explains the kinds of activities that any business may undertake – above and beyond its pursuit of Break‑Even Goals – to speed up society’s transition to future-fitness.

Key changes in Release 2.1 are as follows:

  • An updated introduction offers improved guidance on the relationship between Positive Pursuits and Break-Even Goals, the kinds of activity that contribute to one or both, and how Positive Pursuits may be used to think about an organisation’s purpose and its contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • The Positive Pursuit categories have been reformulated and described in more depth, and include more details on how to ‘shift the system’ (through infrastructure, governance, market mechanisms and social norms); and a more actionable set of positive social outcomes (grounded in an enhanced framing for ‘wellbeing’).

Break-Even Action Guides

There is one Action Guide for each of the 23 Break-Even Goals. Each Action Guide offers specific guidance for practitioners working with, or inside companies, on how to transform business operations, procurement practices, and products in pursuit of future-fitness.

Key changes in Release 2.1 are as follows:

  • Some companies may wish to have a third-party check their assessment approach, to increase their own confidence in the information being used to drive decisions, or because they intend to report publicly on their Future-Fit progress. To support such efforts, each Action Guide now includes an Assurance section, which outlines key considerations on how to ensure that data is gathered, manipulated and tracked in ways that an independent assurer would expect.
  • The progress indicators for several Break-Even Goals have been updated to better show gradual progress. These changes will not result in differences to what companies must accomplish, but they strengthen the way progress can be measured and thus managed.\

For a more detailed description of these changes see Future-Fit Business Benchmark – Release 2.1 updates. You can download all Release 2.1 documents here.

Astrid Fellingham Associate

Astrid is an economist by training, and has worked on the ongoing development of the Future-Fit Business Benchmark and supporting tools since its earliest days.

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