The Business Opporyunity
A large group of New Zealand businesses have a vision for how New Zealand should look by the middle of this century.
By 2050 Sustainable Business Council members want all New Zealanders living well and within the limits of the planet. There really is no other choice.
The New Zealand goal aligns with a global vision developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, which has over 200 member businesses and partner organisations in 66 countries.
Four years ago it published the ground-breaking Vision2050 report – the first time global companies have publicly come together to say that business as usual is no longer an option.
We will all need to make significant changes to how we produce and consume everything from energy to agriculture products if we want the projected nine billion people to be able to live well and within the limits of the planet by 2050.
But when businesses change the way they operate, that will also create a raft of opportunities.
Whole new industries will emerge that support lowcarbon, zero-waste cities; there will be new business opportunities to improve and manage ecosystems, livelihoods and lifestyles.
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development estimates that those opportunities will be worth somewhere between US$3-10 trillion USD every year by 2050.
However, a 35-year transformation doesn’t just happen. We need waypoints. That’s why the World Business Council for Sustainable Development has more recently developed Action2020 – a plan that looks at the difference we can make over the next six years.
The international scientific community was essential in drawing up short term activities so that we are able to reach the aspirational mid-century goals. For example, it set a target of limiting cumulative net emissions to a trillion tonnes of carbon, which aims to keep global temperatures to just two degrees above pre-industrial levels by 2050.
A growing number of New Zealand businesses are playing their part in these global plans.
Companies focused on our own Vision2050 plan make up almost a third of New Zealand’s private sector GDP with a collective turnover of about $63 billion.
That’s a lot of sway from a group of businesses who are already doing more to make sure New Zealand has a strong, vibrant economy, where innovation is the norm, where our clean, green image is intact and communities prosper.
Our own New Zealand Action2020 plan is still being developed. We’ll be sharing our short term plan later this year – around the same time ASEAN partners to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development launch what they will do.
Over the past year a handful of leading companies have started exploring how dependent they are, and the impact they have on the environment using the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Ecosystem Service Review Tool.
Six months from now, those companies will be able to share what they have learned from having a much greater understanding of how they interact with the environment.