Of course creating the world of tomorrow is not a simulation exercise. But we can all exert an influence – and ideally do our bit to shape politics, the economy and civil society. Many people are already investing in a positive future. Did you know that in Denmark the most powerful ferry ever to have an electric motor has just been launched? „Ellen“ has unparalleled battery capacity, and it sails back and forth between two islands producing almost no noise or emissions, and it can transport almost 200 passengers as well as 31 cars and five lorries. Or have you heard of social design? The „Little Sun“ solar lamp designed by Olafur Eliasson is part of this concept. It aims to enable anyone who doesn’t have access to mains electricity to learn, work, and enjoy communal life. With so many innovative opportunities why wait around – when we can start working towards a better future right now?
1. Travel – without leaving home
It's raining outside, your holiday's been cancelled, and in any case you're worried about the environmental impacts of flying. So just make yourself comfortable, put on a VR headset – and simply set off . The allround views provide you with perspectives that you might not experience in reality. Or you can work in places where other people take their holidays. Thanks to the Altspace- VR company you can relocate meetings to virtual offices – with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge if you want.
2. Innovations that are simply printed
Tool-free manufacturing, efficient use of materials, flexible designs, onsite production, economic efficiency, and – last but not least – tremendous innovative capacity. This is what 3D printing promises to deliver. Take the example of bioprinting: Canadian researchers are developing a portable printer which will enable skin transplants to be carried out. Researchers at ETH Zurich have even printed a heart that's made of silicon. Even houses, cars and spare parts for space travel can already be printed.
3. Read three thousand books in 15 minutes
Stuffy intellectuals are tearing their hair out – but people who just want an overview are delighted. The "Blinkist" app condenses the contents of pages of reference books to a summary of the key facts, so you can read a book in 15 minutes. The "Spritz" app by contrast is based on the knowledge that the brain grasps words faster than the eyes actually read. So the words are flashed up one after another – making speed reading really easy and giving people more time to learn even more.
4. It's better to arrive than to travel
Who still defines him/herself by their car? And if they do, it’s probably only in terms of its digital features and its good environmental performance. New mobility is becoming a status symbol – including car-sharing, ordering autonomous vehicles when they’re needed, or flying over the congested streets of megacities in flying taxis.
5. Greener googling
100 Google searches use as much power as half an hour of lighting. It may not sound like much, but if the internet was a country it would be the world’s fifth-biggest user of electricity. This is a huge challenge for the operators of big data centres. The international company, Equinix, uses only electricity from renewable sources for its data centres in Germany. And the waste heat from the computers also heats its own offices.
6. Alternatives are powering ahead
Using thermo-chemical processes researchers at ETH Zurich have managed to trans form air and sunlight into CO2-neutral fuel. The mini-refinery proves the feasibility of sustainable fuels. At the Technical University of Munich algae with a particularly high fat content are cultivated and turned into bio-kerosene – although the procedure isn’t economically viable yet. And for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo Japan is aiming to have the world's first aircraft that's powered by bio-kerosene cleared for take-off.
- Is my money fit for the future?
- Whick risks are in my portfolio (environment, old technologies, green washing)?
- What is the footprint of my portfolio?
7. Eating meat – not animals
Cutting two thirds of our greenhouse gas emissions and saving an area of land that's bigger than the African continent would mean that we all had to become vegetarians. Bans are for killjoys – so tasty alternatives created in the laboratory are the next big thing: the vegan "Impossible" burger is so delicious that even Burger King is offering it, and the Zurich-based start-up "Planted" is delighti ng connoisseurs with its meat-free "planted chicken".
8. Agriculture in the city
If two thirds of people are going to live in cities, doesn't it also make sense to shift the cultivati on of foodstuff s into cities? The Fraunhofer Society reckons that 3.6 m2 is all the space that's needed to grow enough food for one city dweller: on roofs, in vertically arranged shelves, and underground. The Cycloponis company runs a farm in an underground car park in Paris. Their mushrooms, endives and herbs are even biologically certified.
9. Growing old, but staying young
Progress means that we’re living longer. In the 17th century average life expectancy was 35 – now it's over 80. But can people live to 120? The doctor and manager, Joon Yun, has actually set up the Palo Alto Longevity Prize with total prize money of one million US dollars to tackle this issue. A bit more down-to-earth, but correspondingly even more successful, is the gaming scene. Retrobrain's "Memory Box" games console provides physical and mental exercises for older people, helping them to stay healthy for longer.
10. Always on call: Doc Digital
Ask Dr Google or your ap(p)othecary: Digital Health promises to revolutionise medicine through the use of AI. There are already thousands of preventive health apps which monitor movement, nutrition and care. Arcadia Healthcare is using databases to help doctors produce more accurate diagnoses. Caspar Health runs online rehabilitation courses in cooperation with clinics – providing 24/7 remote access to thousands of health tips relating to orthopaedics, cardiology, neurology, oncology, and psychosomatic disorders.
Without a positive footprint there's no chance of a better future
A better future isn't a pipe dream or the world seen through rose-tinted spectacles. We need objective standards as a counterweight to subjective feelings. The Globalance Footprint is such a system. It calculates the data and facts relating to the economy, society and the environment. In doing this we rely on the globally certified objectives of - multilateral organisations such as the World Health Organization or the World Bank - specialised NGOs such as the World Economic Forum, Transparency International, the World Resources Institute or - scientific institutions such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Only if a financial investment produces a positive overall assessment does it actually contribute to a better future.
10 investments for a better future
The future movers that we've described all have one thing in common: they replace redundant business models with forward-looking concepts. Why? Because they benefit from global megatrends, such as new mobility, digitisation, or the scarcity of resources. Future movers demonstrably increase their turnover much faster than the market as a whole, and they achieve better profit margins. But growth isn't everything: a positive footprint secures long-term customer loyalty, it helps to ward off regulatory intervention, and it secures public acceptance. And in order for an investment to be successful key financial indicators such as valuation, momentum, and risk factors have to be favourable.