Over the last four decades, human endeavour has unleashed unprecedented economic growth in the pursuit of higher living standards. While the world’s population has increased by over 3 billion people since 1970, the size of the world economy has more than tripled. While this growth has pulled millions out of poverty, it has been unevenly distributed and incurred significant cost to the environment. Natural assets have been and continue to be depleted, with the services they deliver already compromised by environmental pollution. Providing for a further 2 billion people by 2050 and improving the living standards for all will challenge our ability to manage and restore those natural assets on which all life depends. Failure to do so will have serious consequences, especially for the poor, and ultimately undermine the growth and human development of future generations.