Sustainability and system change ‘Sustainability is a dynamic process which enables all people to realise their potential and to improve their quality of life in ways that simultaneously protect and enhance the Earth’s life support system.’ Forum for the Future Why system change for sustainability? Climate change, malnutrition, inequality, poverty, ecological degradation. The world faces many complex, interrelated challenges, and it is clear many of our fundamental systems are broken. Unless we can understand the bigger picture in which these challenges sit, we will only end up mitigating problems or providing superficial solutions. The global challenges we face are so urgent and tricky that we need a solution to match their scale and complexity. This is where system change comes in. We use systems thinking to understand the web of interrelations that create complex problems, anticipate unintended consequences, and identify how and where to take action. It is our way to respond to a complex, changing world. What is system change? A system is a configuration of parts connected by a web of relationships towards a purpose. It can be an ecosystem, such as the marine environment, the food system or socially created systems such as education and health. Systems can be small, such as organisations, or large, such as the whole economy. A systems approach shifts the focus from individual parts to how the parts are organised, recognising that interactions of the parts are not static and constant but dynamic and fluid. Systemic change is where relationships between different aspects of the system have changed towards new outcomes and goals. And it’s driven by transformational, not incremental change. How do you change a system? Ready to change systems with us? To find out how we can help you, contact our team of change agents.