Redefining Growth

Business & Innovation
Mittwoch, 7. Mai 2014 - 14:15 bis 14:45
GIG lounge



Our world is built on the paradigm of continuous economic growth. Growth is seen as the most effective means to lift millions of people out of poverty and to ensure prosperity and opportunity for all. In many places and for many people, it has been extraordinarily successful in achieving this goal. But as we approach a global population of eight billion in 2030, our world is facing significant social and environmental challenges. We must recognize the role that our continuous quest for growth has played in creating these challenges. How do we move beyond the perpetual growth model when everything in our economic system and culture is based on and modeled after the idea that it is necessary and something to celebrate? How do we overcome the mantra of perpetual growth when it is at the heart of our value and belief systems that have formed our personal and professional ambitions and that guide our decisions and behavior? We need to redefine the growth paradigm and explore new foundations for our economy, our society and our personal lives.


So we’ve entered the epoch of the Anthropocene, where humankind increasingly exceeds a sustainable level of affecting its surroundings. We built our world on the paradigm of perpetual growth, reducing our planet and everything on it to a P&L-sheet. Only recently we’ve started to acknowledge what devastating effects this disruptive worldview has had on the Earth’s ecosystems (social, biological, chemical and geological) on a local, regional and global level. We need to redefine the growth paradigm and explore new foundations for our economy, our society and our personal lives.

Among (young) consumers and citizens, this awareness is starting to sink in. It has resulted in a growing number of new companies and citizen initiatives that are based on alternative value systems. Slowly this new way of thinking also gains traction with large, traditional and powerful companies that take drastic measures to sincerely incorporate sustainable practices and social responsibility.

But one does not change one’s core foundations in life overnight. So what does it take to re-define growth on a scale that really matters?


This session is part of the GLOBAL INNOVATION GATHERING programme.

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