Shame On Us If We Don't
Clean water, climate change, poverty, and biodiversity are seen as the most urgent sustainability challenges according to the results of The Sustainability Survey 2009. A joint effort of two world-class organizations, SustainAbility and GlobeScan, the survey examines the increasingly complex business landscape of sustainability challenges and opportunities. 1,691 sustainability experts responded from more than 90 countries across the globe and include government, non-governmental organizations, consultants, academics, and the private sector.
Highlights of the survey’s findings include:
- The world faces numerous urgent sustainability challenges with a disparity between the urgency of various sustainability issues and the perceived capacity of the private sector to address them.
- Anxiety over the availability of clean water persists.
- Addressing climate change requires both government and corporate leadership.
- New technology is seen as key to addressing climate change.
- The economic downturn may catalyze progress on sustainability.
- The mantle of corporate leadership is changing. Over the last four years, perceptions of “old” corporate sustainability leaders (e.g., BP and Shell) have significantly declined, and new names (e.g., Wal-Mart) are rising.
One more observation: Experts generally point to opportunities for new economic systems, development of renewable energy sources, and lifestyle changes as the main reasons why the economic downturn could positively impact progress on sustainability, but aren’t convinced that society will maximize the potential.
Shame on us if we don’t.