Global trends are reshaping business strategy and markets

Source: WBCSD, 8 April 2002

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 today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 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. Tomorrow’s Market: Global Trends and Their Implications for Business is the first publication that 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 world’s 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. The global trend for each topic is presented in a concise, lively format that can be easily adapted for business use.

"This report emphasizes global trends that will help business leaders better understand the inter-relationships between environment and development issues, and, in turn, respond more effectively to the enormous challenges before us," said Klaus Töpfer, UNEP Executive Director. He added, "We need a sound healthy environment for development. It makes business sense."

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 process and with life-enhancing goods and services.

"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 needs.

Tomorrow’s 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.

Download the report parts (pdf)