|Global Trends Reshape Business
New report links global economic, environmental and social indicators
to market development.
Businesses that wish to survive and
thrive in a global economy must respond to major social and environmental
trends that are reshaping markets, says a report released in April
by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Business
Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World Resources
Institute (WRI). Backed with facts and figures, the new report outlines
19 powerful trends that are reshaping global markets and changing
the roles and strategies of corporations.
Tomorrows Market: Global Trends and Their Implications
for Business links global economic, environmental and social
indicators to market development in order to help businesses better
respond to future challenges. The report reflects the rising interest
in using market solutions to address some of the worlds most
pressing problems such as population, wealth, nutrition, health,
education, consumption, energy, emissions, efficiency, ecosystems,
agriculture, freshwater, urbanization, mobility, communications,
labor, democracy, accountability and privatization.
This report emphasizes global trends that will help business
leaders better understand the interrelationships between environment
and development issues, and, in turn, respond more effectively to
the enormous challenges before us, said Klaus Toepfer, UNEP
executive director. Since the world economy depends on a base of
natural resources that is being severely degraded, reducing consumption
and waste creates new opportunities for businesses to grow through
the innovation of less wasteful processes and with life-enhancing
goods and services, he added.
In his preface to Tomorrows Markets, Harvard Business
Schools Michael Porter, a leading authority on competitive
strategy and international competitiveness, writes, Not only
can corporate and social needs be integrated, but the success of
the developing world in improving prosperity is of fundamental strategic
importance to almost every company. The world economy is not a zero
sum game in which one countrys success comes at the expense
of others. There is enormous potential for growth if many countries
can improve in productivity and trade with one another. There are
huge unsatisfied human needs to be met in the world, and demand
will only increase as more nations become prosperous.
This report will provide companies with information to identify
the fundamental signals that influence their future success and
drive their innovation, said Björn Stigson, WBCSD president.
He added that developing economies will present companies with new
market opportunities to help meet health, education and nutrition
The report is divided into five categories:
- People and Tomorrows Markets
- Natural Capital
- Roles and Responsibilities
Tomorrows Markets argues that future markets
will favor businesses that partner with government and civil society
groups to serve basic needs, enhance human skills, increase economic
capacity and help remedy inequities.
The challenge of the future is to choose a course that satisfies
the market requirements for growth, maintains the natural balance
that sustains our economies, and meets the needs and rights of global
communities awakening to new dreams of health, prosperity and peace,
said Jonathan Lash, WRI president.
Copies of the report are available on-line at: www.wbcsd.org.