The report forms the final output of The Regeneration Roadmap, an 18-month collaborative and multi-faceted thought leadership initiative designed to engage the private sector in advancing sustainable development by improving strategy, increasing credibility and delivering results at greater speed and scale.

In the process, The Regeneration Roadmap team conducted interviews with sustainability pioneers, held dialogues with thought leaders around the world and undertook extensive research including multiple surveys testing expert, public and consumer attitudes and expectations regarding how to accelerate the transition to sustainable development.

Key Findings

Changing Tack finds cause for optimism about what is possible to achieve, but that sustainability challenges remain great and growing, and that solutions are not yet proliferating at the speed and scale needed to avert widespread environmental, social and economic disruptions. It finds low expectations that governments alone will provide the leadership needed to change course, and looks to other institutions, particularly business, to fill the gap.

The report argues that the private sector has both the capability and reason-rooted in self-interest-to play a catalytic leadership role through what it calls extended leadership, that not only focuses on individual business performance but also on how to most effectively change underlying system conditions. The authors explain that extended leadership consists of concurrently manifesting six corporate attributes related to having a unique vision, setting ambitious and concrete goals, an evolved corporate offer, a compelling brand, true transparency and active advocacy functions.

Finally, the report concludes that enhanced trust, collaboration and leadership each directly contribute to stronger corporate performance. Together they can help reset the operating context for business and enable the system changes necessary to deliver sustainable development.

“We have long felt that businesses have a leading role to play when it comes to advancing sustainable development, and Changing Tack not only reinforces that belief but helps chart the course,” said Kelly M. Semrau, SC Johnson Chief Sustainability Officer. “By building trust and fostering collaboration, companies like SC Johnson can use its scale and reach to drive critical progress.”

“Nearly 20 years ago, Ray Anderson challenged Interface and all of business and industry to aspire to a sustainable future, placing his confidence in our ability to innovate our way to a more sustainable world,” said Erin Meezan, Vice President of Sustainability for Interface, Inc. “The Changing Tack report reminds us that Ray’s vision is even more relevant, and our need to accelerate even more urgent.”

“We support collaboration projects like The Regeneration Roadmap to help inform Cisco’s strategy for addressing issues such as access to healthcare, under-performing education systems, or increasing greenhouse gas emissions,” says Kathy Mulvany, Senior Director, Corporate Affairs at Cisco. “Together we can find answers to some of our most difficult leadership challenges.”

“The pursuit of sustainability is in our long-term self-interest”, says Ursula Mathar, Vice President Sustainability and Environmental Protection at BMW Group. “Global challenges such as climate and demographic change, resource scarcity and population growth are in need of a more comprehensive, integrated and sustainable approach. Changing Tack lays out how business can take the helm and provides inspiration on unlocking greater financial and sustainable value to shape a sustainable economy.”

“The Changing Tack report paints a picture of why action is needed now and the important and unique role that the private sector will play in shaping a sustainable future,” said Linda Fisher, Vice President – Safety, Health & Environment and Chief Sustainability Officer, DuPont. “DuPont has moved beyond just focusing on our own environmental impact to identifying the sustainability challenges that our science and innovation can help address. We believe this is crucial to our long term growth strategy.”