The Natural Step™

Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt, Sweden, 1989

Developed by Swedish oncologist Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt and physicist Dr. John Holmberg in the early 1990s, The Natural StepTM framework (TNS) addresses what and how we take, make, and maintain the earth’s resources and systems while meeting humanity’s needs now and in the future.

TNS systems conditions and principles

To apply the framework, The Natural StepTM has developed a strategic process known as backcasting, which allows looking at a current situation from a future perspective. The process has fours steps:

  1. Awareness Developing a common understanding of the situation within an organization
  2. Base-line mapping Mapping current operations of an organization in terms of the four system conditions
  3. Clear vision Creating a vision and identifying measures that take an organization from where it is now to where it can be in a sustainable future
  4. Decide on priorities Prioritizing measures for achieving the organization’s vision that move it toward sustainability. TNS recommends organizations to tackle easy things first and reach for the ‘low hanging fruit’.1

TNS Backcasting
Source: The Natural Step,