The book was necessary because the pressure to make society and the economy just and sustainable, quickly, is so great. All In does not aim at some indefinite future, but at how we address problems from now through 2030. This timeframe aligns with major global environmental goals including the ambitions enshrined in the Paris Agreement to keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 °C. It also parallels the wider aims for human and economic development and environmental protection outlined in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Paris Agreement and the SDGs both came into being in 2015, giving humanity fifteen years to make good on their intentions. As we say in the book, a decade and a half is a dangerous length of time: long enough to procrastinate, while close enough for alarm. Success depends on broad participation, tremendous determination, and outstanding leadership. At a moment in history where society seems bent on fracture and dissent, governments are not doing enough. Civil society is aware and committed but lacks power. This leaves it to business to go All In and fully commit to participate, partner, and lead – which should be a natural and obvious choice given sustainability is increasingly imperative to commercial success.
What did you discover?
There was a host of learning, including the identification of three past eras of sustainability leadership: The Harm Reduction Era 1997-2005, The Strategic Integration Era 2006-2015 and The Purpose-Driven Era 2016-Ongoing. We also predict the near-term emergence of The Regenerative Era, in which circular business models essential to sustainability are expected to begin to proliferate. At the heart of the book we present the set of leadership attributes – Purpose, Plan, Culture, Collaboration and Advocacy – that together underpin current best practice in leading companies and represent the essential qualities for corporate sustainability leadership now through 2030.
All In defines the leadership attributes as follows.