Backcasting tool 

Build a pathway towards impact for a solution

“Backcasting” is one approach to working with a solution for a given setting to identify actionable steps towards having positive impact at some point in the future.  In general, the “backcasting”  process involves first defining a future vision of a solution being used in a specific context and then working “backwards” to identify necessary steps to achieve this vision.

Going through this kind of exercise as an individual or with a team can be a useful way to begin to better understand the what, when, and how of moving a solution (or set of solutions) towards uptake and eventually major impact for a desired outcome.

As food system transformation requires urgent actions across many sectors - and in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals time horizon - we have designed this backcasting tool to help users imagine and describe how a specific solution could have major positive impact(s) by 2030. The tool will help identify the key steps that need to be taken to reach this ideal vision, as well as to recognize and identify barriers that might be encountered along the way. 


This exercise is meant to help stimulate multidisciplinary and multidimensional thinking around taking innovative solutions towards impact.

Using this backcasting pathway builder tool for a specific setting is meant to serve as a starting point to help develop concrete, actionable steps. The tool prompts users to suggest creative resolutions to those barriers and identify possible synergies with other solutions and critical enabling factors that need to be taken into account and addressed at various points along the “pathway towards impact.”

One example of a pathway-to-impact map

INTERACTIVE MAP BUILDER: Adjust your pathway map as-needed along the way

GALLERY: Explore pathway-to-impact maps submitted to the portal