Future business: New digital sustainability tool launched

By Rod Alexander

The world is changing fast. The pressures of climate change, population growth, food and energy security, and social inequality are increasing daily – and these issues are changing the operating environment for business. Pioneering businesses are responding to those challenges and seizing the opportunities they present. Companies like Caterpillar, Unilever and PepsiCo are developing new business models, products and services, and changing their relationships with consumers.

Richard Miller, the Technology Strategy Board’s Head of Sustainability, said: “The sustainability challenge that the world economy faces represents a fantastic opportunity for smart and innovative businesses to create new products, services and business models. Bringing sustainability thinking into mainstream business activities is the most important thing we can do to make that opportunity real.”

Horizons is open access, and is made up of a number of ‘cards’ which outline the issues and trends driving the development of our future economy – like access to information, levels of pollution, public trust, and energy security. Detailed information on why each issue is important is available, plus links, films and case studies to bring the issues to life.

Jonathon Porritt, of global sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future, said: “We can’t predict the details of our future economy. But we do know the trends driving its development – like the rolling IT revolution, climate change, public trust, food security. These factors shape markets and disrupt business models. Business need to address the risk that presents. But crucially, there’s a huge business opportunity there for the taking.”

Horizons is free to use, and currently in beta: http://horizons.innovateuk.org/.

Horizons is based on the Sustainable Economy Framework, which has been developed and tested by Forum for the Future and the Technology Strategy Board, building on and synthesising the best research and thinking from around the world. Find out more about how it was developed here: http://bit.ly/ZDQDGe.  

About the author and the TSB

Rod Alexander is Media Relations Specialist at the Technology Strategy Board. The TBS is the UK’s innovation agency. Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit www.innovateuk.or .

Forum for the Future is a sustainability non-profit that works globally with business, government and others to solve tricky challenges. Working with pioneering partners, we transform the essential systems of food, energy and finance to secure a more fulfilling life for us and future generations. For more information see www.forumforthefuture.org.

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