Achieving Positive Pursuits:
A Future-Fit Business Guide

05 jul 2024 / Matters Academy
The Future-Fit Business Benchmark offers a strategic framework for businesses to operationalise sustainability. It outlines “break-even goals” to prevent harm to society or the environment, and promotes “Positive Pursuits” - proactive actions for tangible benefits. 

This dual approach motivates businesses to be solution providers, not just risk mitigators. This article explores how the benchmark defines and operationalises Positive Pursuits, and provides real-world examples to illustrate their role in proactive corporate sustainability efforts.
The Framework Overview

The Future-Fit Business Benchmark is a framework developed by the non-profit organisation Future Fit to help businesses align their operations with a sustainable, future-fit society. It outlines break-even goals that businesses should aim to meet in order to avoid negatively impacting society and the environment. However, the benchmark goes beyond just avoiding harm by also encouraging Positive Pursuits - actions that businesses can take to actively contribute to solutions for sustainability challenges.
Positive Pursuits Explained

Previously in this podcast series, we discussed the methodology behind the Future-Fit Business Benchmark and its break-even goals. In today's episode, we dove deeper into understanding Positive Pursuits. As the framework explained, while break-even goals focus on minimising negative impacts, Positive Pursuits aim to enhance positive contributions that businesses can make.

This dual approach ensures that businesses are not only avoiding harm, but also playing an active role in fostering a sustainable future. Positive Pursuits represent opportunities for companies to be agents of change rather than just mitigating their negative footprint. They complement the break-even goals by motivating proactive sustainability efforts.
Three Main Ways to Contribute

There are three main ways that a company can contribute to Positive Pursuits:

  • By creating positive impacts directly through its own operations, such as restoring the environment or improving societal well-being.
  • By reducing the negative impacts of others, for example by enabling more sustainable practices in the supply chain.
  • By amplifying the positive impacts of others, like supporting community-led conservation initiatives.

The framework outlined 24 specific Positive Pursuits across eight critical areas - energy, water, natural resources, pollution, waste, physical presence, people, and drivers of change. Initiatives fall under these categories while following a similar structure to the break-even goals.
Specific Positive Pursuits

It's important to note that Positive Pursuits should not be seen as isolated actions but rather systemic interventions requiring cross-sector collaboration. They are typically complex initiatives needing careful planning with diverse stakeholders. A single action may also contribute to multiple Positive Pursuits.

The framework then delved into some examples. In the energy category, possible Positive Pursuits could include increasing access to renewable options or boosting energy efficiency to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. For water, initiatives that enhance availability, quality or access to clean water in water-stressed regions are highlighted. Managing natural resources sustainably and supporting the adoption of circular economic practices were also discussed.
Measuring Contributions

When it comes to measuring contributions, the Future-Fit Business Benchmark provides guidance on target-setting, tracking progress, gathering impact data and reporting transparently. This allows companies to meaningfully assess their Positive Pursuits over time. A holistic perspective is important to avoid unintended consequences as well.

In conclusion, Positive Pursuits represent a proactive approach for businesses to drive real change towards a sustainable future. When accompanied by robust target-setting and monitoring, they provide an impactful way for companies to contribute solutions beyond just minimising their own resource footprints. The Future-Fit Business Benchmark helps operationalise this approach through its framework of defined Positive Pursuits across key sustainability focus areas.

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