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Future Proofing: Sustainable plans for prosperous economies

November 2016 – This policy briefing highlights the importance of long-term policy planning to deliver the vision of the Paris Agreement and outlines key characteristics of business friendly long-term plans.

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Future Proofing: Sustainable plans for prosperous economies

About the briefing

Tackling climate change will require us to collectively and significantly reassess our long-term social, technological, and economical systems. Governments and business must work together to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future. To do this we must make policy and investment decisions today that consider how a low carbon society will operate in the decades to come.

Decision-makers in both business and policy circles may struggle to connect their immediate priorities and planning to a 2050 timeline. However, long-term vision is a crucial tool for developing sensible and rigorous short and medium term-policies. If done correctly, such plans can build understanding across society about the nature of the changes underway, surface important assumptions and trigger key conversations about the plans and actions required. This would help strengthen the framework that will allow business to act on climate change and deliver sustainable development. This briefing provides an overview of the complementary relationship that can exist between government and business when it comes to policy, particularly on climate change. It also outlines key characteristics of business friendly long-term plans.

The briefing includes:

  • Connecting long-term strategy to immediate plan
  • Example case studies from around the world
  • Designing business-friendly long-term plans
  • Key characteristics for long-term plans
  • Recommended resources and further reading

Citing this briefing

Please refer to this report as University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). (2016, November). Future Proofing: Sustainable plans for prosperous economies. Cambridge, UK: The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group.

Published: November 2016

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Authors and acknowledgements

This business briefing was authored by Tamara Inkster-Draper and Eliot Whittington, with editorial input by Jill Duggan. The editorial team wishes to thank members of the We Mean Business Coalition for their support and guidance.


The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not represent an official position of CLG, CISL, the wider University of Cambridge, or clients.