6.1 original

6.1 Backcasting, what is it?

We start with the end in mind. Thanks to the 4 sustainability principles, we know what we must achieve to at least create a future that can last indefinitely. The principles together form the boundaries within which we must plan for the future.

The power of the 4 principles Because we all agree on the 4 Sustainability Principles, we can also easily agree on what a sustainable future should look like. We describe a desired future that fits within the 4 sustainability principles and for that reason no longer has a negative impact on people and nature. This is the lighthouse on the horizon. The place we need to navigate to.

Win the game You can only “win” the “game” if you play according to the rules of sustainability. So we need to describe a future that is “necessary” for us and future generations. Not a future that you might think is possible. Some people might see these visions and ambitions as idealistic. Unfortunately that is not the case. It is imperative to ensure that we envision quality of life within the boundaries of the planet. Because only then can we move in that direction step by step from where we are today.

Sustainability, it is an ABCD

When you use backcasting – together with the sustainability principles to enable a sustainable future – you need to start with the end in mind. Only when you have a clear picture of where you want to be, you can identify the gap from where we are today. Bridging that gap and making good informed decisions is what we call backcasting from principles making use of the ABCD-proces. This process can be used to run on every possible scale; the next shoe from Nike, the newest carpet tile from Interface, transforming an organisation like Scandic Hotels or design and plan for a large city like Eindhoven in The Netherlands. Step by Natural Step.

We’ll take you through the different steps of this process on the next page.