Future Capital initiative seeks common solutions to common challenges

13 September 2019

A cross-disciplinary meeting of minds considers the major challenges facing humanity and the planet while taking into account multidisciplinary insights, perspectives and stories.

Sculpture in front of NY UN headquaters

The inaugural meeting of the Future Capital initiative was co-convened at UN headquarters in New York from September 12-13.

Future Capital is a new cross-disciplinary alliance of accomplished thought leaders and practitioners who share a commitment to creating more conscious and inclusive economic models to support achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals while promoting widespread prosperity. 

The two-day event was co-hosted by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Office for Partnerships (UNOP) and the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS) in collaboration with the design team of Future Capital and its chairman, Lawrence Ford, a long-time advocate of conscious capitalism. 

The event was kicked off with an introductory offsite session the evening before that established the shared visions, values, and aspirations of such a diverse and richly experienced group of participants.

The group considered the major challenges facing humanity and the planet while taking into account the multidisciplinary insights, perspectives and personal stories of the participating experts. 

A series of ideas were generated and prioritized leading to working groups, of which the foremost were: (1) Global System Change for the Common Good, (2) Transforming Global Agriculture and Energy Systems, (3) Transformation of Consciousness and Global Education, (4) Common Good Capitalism.

Ketan Patel, a participant with substantial international experience and relationships in the finance sector was asked to define and lead the first of these working groups.  It was decided that the focus would be on the ‘future of finance’ specifically in support of the UN Secretary General’s strategy and roadmap for sustainable development to 2030. 

It was further agreed that the study and resulting report would consider the changes that might be needed to the workings of capitalism, the role of finance and other stakeholders and how the leading financial institutions are and can lead in implementing material change. 

The mobilization of the financial institutions was understood to be a major and critical part of the task for which the project lead had much of the network to be able to execute.  This work was to be conducted with the support and oversight of the hosts from UNCTAD and the UN Office for Partnerships. The reporting deadline was to be determined based on the project needs but was tentatively set at December 2020.

An important element of the inaugural Future Capital convening was to consider how capital and capitalism could support the achievement of the SDGs while englobing broader challenges of the world. 

Chantal Line Carpentier, Chief, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) New York Office of the Secretary-General and William Kennedy, Senior Programme Officer, UN Office for Partnerships co-hosted the event and offered opening remarks to set the UN context.  The Chief Executive of WAAS, Garry Jacobs attended and supported the initiative.

The fifty individuals that participated were selected for their expertise and  experience across a range of fields including science, the arts, the environment, sustainability, ESG, medicine, education, mindfulness and performance practices, entrepreneurship, government, philanthropy, media, consulting, investing, banking and finance.

The participants included: Richard Barrett, Mindahi Bastida, Nilima Bhat, Hanna Branu, Stefan Brunnhuber, Rinaldo Brutoco, Alejandro Calderon, Katherine Collins, Susan Davis, Heather Desjardins, Heitor Gurgulino de Souza, Frank Dixon, Michael Dorsey, Jed Emerson, Gil Friend, Russ Gaskin, Jerome C. Glenn, Alisa Gravitz, Hazel Henderson, Lisa Hough-Stewart, Garry Jacobs, Tim Kelley, Patricia Klauer, Dinah Koehler, Björn Larsson, Pavel Luksha, Steven Lovink, Barnaby Marsh, DJ Martin, Peta Milan, Terry Mollner, Ketan Patel, Mila Popovich, Stephen G Post, Sally Ann Ranney, Inge Relph, Thomas Reuter, Judy Rogers, Crystal Rose, Steve Schueth, Raj Sisodia, Mark Sloss, Patrick Somers Stephenson, Alaina Tobin, Carol Wainaina, and Claudia Welss.