Why Accounting for Planetary Boundaries Can Help Businesses Be More Antifragile

A woman analyzes a financial line graph. Photo by Monstera
A woman analyzes a financial line graph. Photo by Monstera

Our planet is enormous and full of resources, but it does still have limits. And, as the population increases, so does the demand for those resources.

That’s why, in a world that is largely fueled by for-profit businesses, it’s smart for those businesses to account for planetary boundaries when developing plans for the future—doing so can help them be more antifragile.

Systems connect

One of the best things about the Earth is that its parts and systems connect in many ways. All five Earth systems are complex, interconnected, and dependent on each other.

But that also means that if one system fails, the others will, too.

So businesses that rely on natural resources are going to start to really feel the crunch if that resource is suddenly hard to come by or restricted.

3 business benefits

Addressing the interrelated nature of these systems and creating business models and strategies that align with Earth systems and limits, while sometimes challenging, is necessary and can be highly beneficial.

This approach can help organizations be more antifragile in three main ways:

  1. Identify and reduce nature-based risks
  2. Align with sustainability trends that are relevant to consumers
  3. Ensure that necessary raw materials are sustainable and available

A framework for long-term success

Luckily, an international group of researchers at the Stockholm Resilience Centre developed a new idea in 2009—the Planetary Boundaries framework.

The Planetary Boundaries framework, from Stockholm Resilience Centre.

This concept outlines nine limits of the Earth’s systems and how much wiggle room we have before each would become strained or surpassed—a crucial bundle of data for companies that wish to plan ahead.

  • As Quantis put it, “the planetary boundaries concept offers a holistic framework for businesses to evaluate their exposure to nature-related risks and guide decision-making.”

Sustainable business growth

More than just a strategy for meeting environmental targets and mandates, it makes good business sense to align with current trends in sustainability and plan ahead to reduce risk by taking a planetary boundaries approach.

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