Drivers of Sustainability – 1. New Economic Realities

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Global Shifts in Economic Power

The dynamics of global economic power is shifting from West to East and North to South. These shifts are creating global major structural trends that are affecting all organisations, but especially businesses. They include the following:

Global Population Growth 

Since 1950 the global population has risen from 3 billion to 7 billion today and is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050. This means that the population of the planet will have trebled in 100 years. Most of this population growth will happen in Asia and Africa. Growing populations will continue to migrate from rural areas to live in cities. India already has more than 100 cities with a population of greater than 1 million people, whilst China has over 200.

New Market Demand

This growth in population in rapidly growing economies is being accompanied by the rapid emergence of a more affluent middle class, whose aspirations for traditional Western lifestyles and consumption are creating new global competition for resources, such as energy and raw materials. The numbers are very big.  Just one example – China will have 200 million new cars on its roads by 2020. Whilst this is clearly a massive market opportunity, it has other implications. Just consider the numbers: 200 million cars means 1 billion new tyres and 45 billion litres of fossil fuel for each year that they are in operation. This demand has a related impact on the Environmental Constraints facing businesses (see link below).

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