Zukunft-Fabrik.2050 at the 51st St. Gallen Symposium

Shaping a New Generational Contract
The Zukunft-Fabrik.2050 co-creates 15 visions for a new generational contract together with participants at the 51st St. Gallen Symposium and the Club of Rome.

From 5-6 May 2022, the 51st St. Gallen Symposium
explores together with the Club of Rome new, more impactful models of collective action to address
interconnected challenges of global security, climate action, and
intergenerational fairness.

At the Symposium, 200 Leaders of Tomorrow engage with 100 Aspiring and 600 Senior Leaders in an inclusive and global cross-generational dialogue.

As part of the Symposium’s agenda, the Zukunft-Fabrik.2050 conducts five interactive workshops to co-create 15 pilot ambitions on important intergenerational issues. These ambitions are further shaped, together with the Club of Rome, to outline a new generational contract. Together with the Symposium’s participants, the Zukunft-Fabrik.2050 subsequently kickstarts implementation projects to stimulate change that consider the impact current decisions have on future generations and the world in 2050.

A New Generational Contract

In 1972, “The Limits to Growth” was published by the Club of Rome and subsequently presented at the 3rd St. Gallen Symposium.

The report emphasised the risks of infinite growth on a finite planet and pioneered the concepts of multi-dimensional sustainability and systemic interdependence. It would change the world’s thinking on humanity’s relationship with its natural environment for decades. Fast forward 50 years, and the need for a shift towards leadership that considers the long-term consequences of current decision-making is greater than ever. Multiple ecological crises, rapid technological change and rising inequities demonstrate that current systems are unsustainable.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of “The Limits to Growth”, the St. Gallen Symposium and the Club of Rome together with the Zukunft-Fabrik.2050 are uniting to launch a joint initiative – “A New Generational Contract” – which will foster dialogue and, subsequently, encourage actions that will elevate a wide range of concerns on 

intergenerational fairness, putting them firmly at the centre of decisions taken during “our time”. We aim to leverage the global, cross-generational platforms that our institutions have created. We are building on an idea that has been brewing for some time, and that has diverse manifestations around the world, and important implications for us all: The generational contract captures the principle that different generations depend on each other to provide mutual support across different stages of their lives. It can be most simply described as “what generations owe each other”, and it reminds us we have a responsibility to be good ancestors, and to consider the impacts of the actions we take today: how will they affect young and future generations?

Our approach will keep action at the heart of the debate: what are the implications of current intergenerational tensions on business, policy-making, financing, technology, academia and civil society, and how can we move the needle on this? To begin this global conversation, we have consulted our cross-generational communities – through a global survey of the St. Gallen Symposium’s networks and some 1,000 young and senior leaders, and hundreds of student essays from 78 countries submitted to the 2022 St. Gallen Global Essay Competition. We gathered their initial views on intergenerational issues that most demand attention and ideas on how we can jointly tackle them.

This Call to Action marks our intention to start a global conversation on practical ways to foster greater intergenerational fairness. The 51st St. Gallen Symposium on 5-6 May 2022 has launched a Cross-Generational Transformation Lab in collaboration with the Zukunft-Fabrik.2050. We facilitate an inclusive, global dialogue of voices from politics, business, civil society and academia to set the thematic agenda together, and develop joint cross-generational ambitions on key intergenerational issues. The Transformation Lab will initially run for one year, and will host regional, cross-generational workshops, roundtables and listening sessions in partnership with leading academic institutions in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe. The 52nd St. Gallen Symposium in May 2023 will discuss main findings and key impact projects that will drive our transition from insights to impact.

Our topics at the 51st St. Gallen Symposium