Climate change and resiliency is at the forefront of minds across the globe — impacting citizens, businesses, and governments alike. Rising concerns of overpopulation, resource sustainability, and carbon emissions among others, are forcing businesses and governments to adapt quickly.
Below, Weber Shandwick has identified ten trends in climate change and sustainability that will influence policy and business practices across the world, and change the global landscape as we know it today.
- Population growth, urbanization and rising demand are pushing beyond the limits of the planet. By 2050, demand for food will rise by 35%; demand for water will increase by 40% and demand for energy by 50%.
- The private sector is aligning sustainability efforts with the UN Sustainable Development Goals — working across and up and down value chains. But many countries are not on track to meet their SDG or Paris Climate goals, increasing pressure on companies to act on renewable energy, energy efficiency, reducing emissions and responsible materials and product end use.
- Sustainability has moved beyond compliance with laws and regulations and improving bottom-line performance to be a core driver of reputation and brand value, attract and retain top talent, and respond to consumer preferences.
- While a global focus remains on reducing carbon emissions, there is rising government, NGO and public focus on protecting oceans and marine environments — from plastic pollution to coastal development to overfishing.
- Climate politics is largely a fight between environmentalists and polluters (fossil fuel and energy-intensive sectors). But others are coming under climate pressures. Agriculture, insurance companies, real estate holders, tourism and military bases are feeling the impact. These sectors will mobilize to protect their economic interests.
- Climate is increasingly linked to public health, particularly in developing markets where poor air and water quality impacts human health.
- Investors are demanding that public companies disclose climate-related risks in their financial reporting. Companies are now asking two risk questions:  how does my business impact the climate, and  how does the climate impact my business.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies will enable greater data-driven climate solutions in biodiversity protection, land and water use and climate modeling, among others.
- Sub-national governments, including cities, are adapting innovative financing schemes to invest in climate infrastructure and filling in political leadership gaps.
- By 2030, China and India will account for one-third of the planet’s population. Decisions these two countries make over the next decade on climate and economics will be game-changing for the planet.
To read the full report, please click here.
By Jim Meszaros, Executive Vice President, Weber Shandwick Washington DC