1. Business-case thinking becomes the new normal for sustainability
Through 2017 we saw a growing demand from clients to further integrate sustainability into core business functions, regarding investments in sustainable production and supply chains as de-risking and value-adding.
This takes sustainability further out of the sphere of ‘nice to do’ and into ‘need to do’, with fact-driven decision making and a business-mindset; the core of what we have been doing for our clients over the past decade—and we are glad to see it become the dominant approach. Read more in our blog post.
2. Effective partnerships in sustainability increasingly revolve around setting shared and measurable goals
Both public and private clients increasingly see the critical role of shared goals when effectively collaborating. The SDGs, whatever your opinion on them is, offer a great framework for supporting this discussion with clients, competitors, and partners. We have listed 4 steps to use the SDGs in business strategy here.
For us a great example here was the KPI Framework developed for the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), unifying the global cocoa sector behind a common set of goals.
In 2017, we are proud to have supported the Organic Cotton Accelerator, the Global Coffee Platform, and the Green Protein Alliance in unlocking new levels of sustainability in their sectors through effective collaboration.
3. Collaboration is recognized as key to sector-wide impact
Experience shows that fragmented and isolated sustainability initiatives, no matter how good their intentions and approach, do not lead to structural change. The only way to address the systemic barriers to sustainability is a holistic, collaborative approach that broadly engages sector stakeholders, whilst connecting and strengthening current efforts.
4. Data and new technologies continue to offer new avenues to sustainability
Technological advances in areas such as machine learning, big data, remote sensing and Internet-of-Things are increasing, and their costs have dropped dramatically. One development that grabs our attention is blockchain technology, which we expect will turn the world of traceability on its head when real-world applications hit the market in 2018.
5. The younger generation steps up
We can all agree that as a global community, we have never faced bigger challenges than climate change, plastic soup, and nutrient collapse. Instead of this being discouraging, it has the ability to drive us. Through our teaching activities, presentations, and recruitment, we see the continuously growing ambitions and sense of urgency of young professionals wanting to create positive change on a large scale.
In April this year we organized our first Young agents of Change event to inspire and train over 30 young professionals to work on real-life cases for global sustainability change. And at the start of 2018, the NewForesight team is set to grow by more than 40%. Our new office is starting to fill up quickly!