The 15 greatest opportunities out of five critical global sustainability risks
The 2016 Global Opportunity Report identifies the world’s biggest threats and what we can do about them, from loss of ocean biodiversity to antibiotics in agriculture. This article originally appeared on DNV GL’S Guardian Sustainable Business partner zone.
The year 2015 was a groundbreaking one for political, corporate and social agreement through the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and COP21 in Paris.
But how do we move this high-level agreement over tackling the most pressing risks facing the world into concrete steps? How do we switch the mindset from risk mitigation, to one of recognising and seizing the opportunities inherent in risks?
The 2016 Global Opportunity Report launched recently, following a rigorous process involving panels and experts from around the world, as well as a review process with more than 5,500 international leaders from the private and public sector. It identified five critical global risks – loss of ocean biodiversity; resistance to life-saving medicine; accelerating transport emissions; a generation wasted; and the global food crisis – and drew from them 15 opportunities business, the public sector and civil society have already started acting on today.
Risk one: loss of ocean biodiversity
Uncontrolled seas, the majority of the high seas, is common territory. Nobody owns it, and nobody protects it. Around three billion people depend on protein from fish, but global ocean biodiversity is suffering due to pollution from land and ocean activities.
Closing the loop
Closing the loop is an opportunity to stop filling the sea with nutrients and other pollutants that are slowly killing it, but it is also an opportunity to reuse and recycle valuable resources. It is the circular economy of the ocean. Learn more.
Regenerative ocean economy
The ocean and marine ecosystems provide a wide range of services and resources that directly support human health, societies and economies. Generating ocean ecosystem value creates larger biomasses and more resilience in the environment. Learn more.
Smart monitoring and observations by utilising existing activities in the ocean to collect and systematise data can close the knowledge gap we have about the ocean and the opportunities the ocean provides. Learn more.
Risk two: resistance to lifesaving medicine
We are entering a post-antibiotic era – where common infections and minor injuries can kill because the drugs we rely on no longer work. Antibiotics are in the meat that we eat, leak into to drinking water, and are overused by doctors.
Agriculture is the greatest consumer of antibiotics in the world, but consumers are pushing for antibiotic-free meat. Learn more.
New business model for antibiotics
New arrangement of collaboration including open source solutions are promising avenues for restarting the quest for new antibiotics. Learn more.
Precision treatment is an opportunity to curb the overuse of broad-spectrum antibiotics that is fuelling the development of drug-resistance, and at the same time offer a more efficient, and gentle treatment to many patients. Learn more.
Risk three: accelerating transport emissions
Seven of eight urban citizens breathe air that fails to meet WHO safe levels. Although transport is mainly to blame, societies need mobility of people and goods to function and develop.
A value shift is emerging, changing preferences from owning to sharing of assets in a resource strained world. Vehicles are the symbol of the old ideal of ownership, but people are now increasingly demanding the most efficient and least polluting mobility option. Learn more.
Having the same possibilities for transport – only smarter and less resource demanding. This opportunity is about sharing our rides, both for personal and goods transport in a peer-2-peer system. It is the transport collaborative economy opportunity. Learn more.
Low transport cities
Creating low transport cities mix the best parts of life in the small village and the big metropolis by placing everything within reach whether it is your home, your office, shops or recreational spaces. It can make cities car-free with fresh and clean air. Learn more.
Risk four: a generation wasted
Youth all over the world are joining the ranks of the unemployed. Almost a quarter of the planet’s youth are neither working nor studying. Jobless growth is now a global reality for the next generation.
Jobs need to grow from bottom-up with the youths themselves in the driver’s seat. Making it possible for young people to be futurepreneurs will enable them to create their own jobs. Learn more.
The digital labour market
Opportunities for employment are not evenly distributed, but digital platforms can connect talent with jobs. They open a whole new perspective to be able to create work for unemployed youth through access to the internet. Learn more.
Closing the skills gap
The mismatch of the supply and demand of skills is like a puzzle that won’t fit. Repairing this puzzle is an opportunity to tap into a resource for the future: youth. Learn more.
Risk five: global food crisis
There is enough food for everyone on the planet, but 795 million people still go to bed hungry every night. 30 to 50 percent of all food produced never gets eaten. In 2050, the world will have to feed an estimated nine billion people, in a warmer world with lower yields.
A new global diet is an opportunity to innovate. It is about bringing ancient protein rich plants back to our plates and in our fields – and to eat locally produced food. Learn more.
Farmers have always used information about wind and weather to know when to plant and harvest. Recent development and dissemination of advanced technological tools at an affordable price have resulted in both large and small-scale farmers having new and more precise tools to produce more with less. Learn more.
Reduce food waste
We can feed an additional 3 billion people if we stop wasting food. Stakeholders along the food value chain can benefit economically from reducing waste, which opens opportunities for innovation all the way from soil to stomach. Learn more.
The Global Opportunity Network and Report are the products of collaboration between DNV GL, the UN Global Compact and Monday Morning. As the partners behind this initiative, we share a vision of a safer and more sustainable world and wish to inspire collaboration and action towards making it a reality. Download your copy here.