Let’s Pick Up The Pace Of The Positive Revolution

On September 1, the Global Positive Forum, under the patronage of the President of the French Republic, will be the starting point for a participatory global debate.

07/06/2017 09:41 am ET | Updated 3 days ago
Jacques Attali (left) and Richard Attias (right), co-founders of the Global Positive Forum

The models that shaped the world in the 20th century have left modern societies at an impasse. We are experiencing one international crisis after another. The capacity of States to take action is curbed by their colossal debts. Unbridled liberalism has triggered repeated financial crises and we’re seeing inequality escalate across the world. Our consumption patterns are resulting in runaway global warming. We see war after war, causing immense suffering for entire populations. Our capacity to offer refuge is hugely tested by the growing number of migrations provoked by these conflicts, by the vulnerability of the most powerless, and by climate disruption.

In response to such massive challenges, some countries have opted for populism and isolationism. Donald Trump has announced the USA’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreements while the UK has voted for Brexit, distancing itself from Europe and putting the EU in danger.

That is not the answer. These challenges highlight the need for radical change and for developing a new model: a model built around patience, that takes responsibility for the future of the coming generations. The tyranny of short-termism will only lead to dictatorship in the long term.

Awareness is spreading. Positive initiatives are already multiplying exponentially. This proliferation of ideas is powerful. Aspirations are growing – largely driven by younger people – for a life that holds more meaning. The crowdfunding market emerged five years ago and will exceed $1,000 billion across the world by 2020. The social and solidarity economy already accounts for 10 % of the world economy and is growing apace. Since Positive Planet initiated the positive economy movement in 2012, several initiatives have come to fruition, like the city of Paris setting up the Council for Future Generations. The leap forward in renewable energies, the take-off of organic farming, and the fight against plastic pollution all form part of this positive momentum.

Many things are already getting better in the world: violence has fallen, extreme poverty is decreasing, and life expectancy is on the rise. Technological breakthroughs inspire hope for a great future. Above all, altruism is beginning to triumph over selfishness.

There are plenty of activists and initiatives to suggest that tomorrow’s world will be brighter than today’s, but we need to speed up the positive revolution – it’s imperative if we are to tackle climate change while forcing the internet giants to abandon the liberalism that generates shocking inequalities.Speeding up the positive revolution means providing all the unique talents across the world with access to education, and guaranteeing everyone the same chances of success. Knowledge paves the way for progress and is the first line of defense against obscurantism. We must tackle illiteracy as an absolute priority.

Speeding up the positive revolution means giving everyone the chance to take control of their life, giving everyone the resources they need to get a job and to create the conditions for a better world. Today’s generation has the means to eradicate poverty in the world and we will be held responsible by future generations.

Speeding up the positive revolution means safeguarding our environment, building a zero-carbon economy by 2050 and giving renewable energies priority in the global energy mix. Our model must not deplete nature but instead take inspiration from it to shape a zero-waste economy.

We are building tomorrow’s model today. All the stakeholders in society must get behind it. All over the world, investors are gradually abandoning short-term thinking and committing to the interests of generations to come. These investors will set the standard for responsible investment in the future.

Companies in every industry and on every continent are waking up to their role in steering our economic model towards patient capitalism. Every business can benefit from basing their strategic direction on rational altruism.

Start-ups became multinationals on the back of the digital revolution, and they now have to act in the interest of future generations. The responsibility they shoulder is unprecedented. NGOs are the forerunners to tomorrow’s positive businesses.

Citizens are fully-fledged stakeholders in this positive revolution. An array of citizenship initiatives is emerging to counter conservatism, demonstrating the strength of desire – particularly among our youth –for radical change. The Women’s March, a global rally for women’s rights held on January 21st, and the growing activism against climate change, are emblematic of this greater awareness.

Positive revolution policies are best implemented at local level. Take, for example, the 40 mayors in the C40 who signed up to comply with the Paris Agreements.

Finally, States have to set the tone and introduce proactive policies. “Something is happening in France, there is a momentum,” declared newly elected President Emmanuel Macron recently. “All across the country, people want to take action, invent, innovate – they want to win on a global level. They want France to succeed and to be proud of their country.”

Start-up fundraising has leapt by 46 percent in France over the last two years. Major international events such as the chance of Paris organizing the 2024 Olympics, or the 2025 World’s Fair, will capture the world’s attention.

With all this in mind, the Global Positive Forum is to be held on September 1st under the patronage of the President of the French Republic. The event will open a global participatory dialogue, leading to a declaration of examples to follow and new reforms required to speed up the positive revolution and safeguard the world for future generations. We are delighted to be involved.

We, the signatories, call on civil society, companies and citizens to come together and work on solutions to create the conditions for a better world. Politicians cannot do it alone – the responsibility is shared by all of us. It is a question of our common future.

First signatories:

Jacques Attali, (President of Positive Planet),

Richard Attias (Executive Chairman, Richard Attias & Associates), 

Grazyna Arata (President, Académie des Prix Lumières),

Yann Arthus-Bertrand (Photographer, Reporter, Director and President, GoodPlanet Foundation), 

Mathieu Baudin (Director, Institut des Futurs Souhaitables), 

Yves Bigot (CEO, TV5 Monde), 

Benjamin Blavier (Founder & CEO, Passeport Avenir), 

Jean-Marc Borello (CEO, Groupe SOS), 

Alexandre Boucherot (Co-founder, CEO, Ulule), 

Frédérique Bredin (President, Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée)

Aurore Courtois (Co-founder, Live for good), 

Sandra de Bailliencourt (Managing Director, Sparknews), 

Christian de Boisredon (Founder, Sparknews), 

Emmanuel Druon (President, Pocheco, auteur Ecolonomie)

Ferrante Ferranti (Photographer)

Marc Freedman (Founder & CEO, Encore.org), 

Costa Gavras (Filmmaker),

Thibaut Guilluy (CEO, Ares), 

Bruno Humbert (President, Co-founder, La Ruche), 

Jacques Huybrechts (Founder, Parlement et communauté des Entrepreneurs d’avenir), 

Eric Karsenti (Scientific Director, CNRS et Directeur Scientifique, TARA OCEANS),  

Christian Lacroix (Fashion Designer),

Elisabeth Laville (Founding Director, Utopies, the B Corp), 

Ismaël Le Mouël (Co-founder and President, Hello Asso), 

Tony Meloto (President and Founder, Gawad Kalinga), 

Thierry Michel (Director, cinéaste de documentaires politiques et sociaux),

Docteur Denis Mukwege (Founder and Medical Director, The Panzi Hospital, Prix Sakharov 2014),  

Arnaud Poissonnier (Founder and CEO, Babyloan),

Jean-Rachid (Producer of Grand Corps Malade, Anouche Productions/Kallouche Cinema)

Pierre Rabhi (Writer, Farmer and Thinker)

Navi Radjou (Independent consultant specializing in innovation and leadership, Innovation Jugaad), 

Vincent Ricordeau (‎Co-founder and CEO, Kisskissbankbank), 

Jean-Pierre Rosenczveig (Honorary Magistrate and President, Bureau International des Droits de l’Enfant), 

Jérôme Salle (Filmmaker),

Sonu Shivdasani (Founder and CEO, Soneva),

Pierre Schoeller (Filmmaker),

Marie Trellu-Kane (President and Co-founder, Unis-Cité)

Catherine Tripon (Director of Relations « Sustainable Social Development » & Partnerships RSE, General Delegation, FACE),

Keith Tuffley (Managing Partner & CEO, The B Team), 

Christian Vanizette (Co-founder, Make Sense), 

Jakob Von Uexkull (Founding, World Future Council et Right Livelihood Award, Foundation), 

Boris Walbaum (President, Frateli) 

CONVERSATIONS