One of the most frequently quoted definitions of sustainability is that put forward in 1987 by the Brundtland Commission, which describes sustainable development as “meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
A widely held consensus is that for projects to be sustainable, three aspects need to be considered simultaneously: environmental sustainability, economic sustainability; and social sustainability.
In an increasingly overcrowded world with ever diminishing resources failure to agree international sustainability targets should not detract from the individual, corporate and national defensive need for natural resource conservation to limit future financial and environmental burdens and geo-political risk exposure. Maximising the sustainable outputs of each project is fundamental to this goal.
Impact Capitalism and Social Value
Rising national debt together with financial inequality placed in the context of political and social change influenced by demographics and sustainability and now compounded by COVID-19 and the response thereto is increasingly putting the free market and capitalism in the spotlight. Impact Capitalism promotes a model where profit and societal benefit is not mutually exclusive and looks for measurable beneficial outputs.
Adam Smith wrote “The Wealth of Nations” in 1759 stating that individuals working in self interest in a free market economy created equilibrium between supply and demand and in doing so provided the most efficient allocation of the factors of production this being the “invisible hand of the market” in 1742 he also wrote “The Theory of Moral Sentiments” principally stating that people took pleasure in other people’s happiness or the “invisible heart of the market”. Impact Development combines hand and heart.
Demographics Disruption and Wealth
10 million people in the UK are over 65 years old. The latest projections are for 5½ million more elderly people in 20 years’ time and the number will have nearly doubled to around 19 million by 2050. Within this total, the number of very old people grows even faster. This is mirrored in other mature countries with the worlds younger people increasingly located in developing nations but with many with aspirations of living in the developed world.
Millennials are over 75% of the global workforce their politics and attitudes continue to gain traction and their financially disadvantaged birth timing is significant. 73% of Millennials are willing to pay more for a sustainable product and over half of worldwide millennials identify climate change as the world’s biggest issue and with 91% identifying humans as the cause.
The 4th revolution is providing the sharing/rental products that are attractive to the asset poor millennials. Adaptability will be key.
Buying a property in the UK has got more expensive per year for every person born after 1957. The maximum per annum redistribution of wealth from the baby boomers to their millennial children (and possibly IHT peak) is forecast as 2034. One in 4 UK baby boomers over 65 are millionaires.
Economic, social and political tectonic plates are moving.
Leonardo da Vinci
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”
Da Vinci was a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer.