At the occasion of this year’s EU Green Week, the European Commission has published its State of Nature Report. After IPBES’ warning that the world is facing the extinction of one million species, it comes to no surprise that 81% of natural habitats in the EU are in poor or bad condition. The unprecedented loss of biodiversity is a danger for peace and food provision. To reverse the trend, we need a profound shift to a regenerative agriculture, economy and society.

State of Nature Report, European Commission 2020

While we face record global warming and never seen destruction of nature, the European Commission is organising its annual EU Green Week to discuss about ways to protect and restore biodiversity. Its EU Green Deal, the Farm to Fork strategy and other initiatives underline the EU’s ambition to become a green superpower. It is however doubtful how coherent these initiatives are with other political priorities.

„Our assessment shows that safeguarding the health and resilience of Europe’s nature, and people’s well-being, requires fundamental changes to the way we produce and consume food, manage and use forests, and build cities. These efforts need to be coupled with better implementation and enforcement of conservation policies, a focus on nature restoration, as well as increasingly ambitious climate action, especially in the transport and energy sector.“

Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency

The EU and its member states actually keep subsidizing and supporting what kills our planet: fossil fuel energy, pesticides and industrial agriculture, as well as the construction of more and more motorways – just to name a few. Fossil fuels alone receive 39 billion Euro per year, according to the OECD. To reverse the trend, we need not only abolish life-threatening investments by public and private stakeholders, but also start thinking about how to reverse the trend. This will only succeed by understanding the source for the enormous destructive potential our contemporary society has.

Too many businesses yet understand sustainability only as a cost and “nice to have” add-on to the core business model. This understanding reflects the idea that a business, or individual, is separate and independent of nature. Extreme weather events, food scarcity and new pandemics are only few of the risks reminding us that they have been ignored by business for too long. Environmental and social externalities have to be re-integrated into the business model with negative impacts being reduced. But this alone will not be sufficient to reverse the downward trend.

We don’t have to reinvent the wheel to overcome the crisis. But we have to work in the right direction

Our current challenges are interconnected. As part of the economic, social and environmental systems, we cannot solve the challenge without working together. Unfortunately, the majority of business leaders have been educated with tools that had worked for the past, in the relatively stable post-war order. Today, we are in a VUCA world. We are shifting from linear to circular thinking. From problem-solving to deeper questioning. From sustainability to regeneration. Indeed, it’s a regenerative shift in leadership that is needed. A shift that questions the assumptions on which our industrial model relies upon.

The Perspectivist supports businesses and individuals in this profound transition by activating the exponential forces that lie in biodynamic design principles and collective intelligence. The reintegration of business into ecological and social systems will create win-win-win situations for all stakeholders involved. Taking the lead in the regenerative economy now means to invest in an economically anchored business model, in more meaningful relationships (at work) and in concrete hope for a life-affirming world.

The solutions are all one the table – from biodynamic agriculture to sustainable finance – we just have to take a first step in the right direction.