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Global Sustainability Trends: Risks to Watch & Opportunities to Catch

29/ 10/ 2018

Klaudia Shevelyuk

Sustainability consultant, Ukraine, co-founder of NGO Responsible Future. 13+ years of executive experience in B2B in law firms and group of companies, successful experience in launching new brands, projects and products

Right now, we are witnessing the most massive changes on the planet in its history. Humanity is on the verge of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The pace of change in the world is extremely fast, there is a lack of time to adapt cultures, strategies or systems. According to the Stockholm Resilience Centre, in the upcoming 50 years there will be irreversible changes that will determine the development of our planet for the next 10,000 years.

Sustainability – as the ability to adapt to changes

Adaptation of the way of thinking to new realities is critical – we talk about the philosophy of sustainable business, which is already an integral part of long-term business development strategies for many international companies. New economic models, such as “green economy”, “circular economy”, “care economy”, etc., are ways to permanently transform your business. In the paradigms of these models, human, cultural and natural capitals are as important as economic.

The ability to perceive changes, the ability of people, organizations and systems to adapt to any changes and to continue development – is resilience. Sudden changes in the current conditions of doing business often lead to crises and even disasters. The transformation of crises into opportunities is considered as sustainable development.

A sustainable vision begins with the realization that man and nature are integral and together create a socio-ecological system. In our globalized society, there are practically no ecosystems that are not formed by people and people who do not need the ecosystems and its services.

Global and national challenges

The bells of the irreversible changes taking place today in the world can not be ignored neither by people, nor by businesses, nor by the heads of states. The rapid growth of the planet’s population, dangerous emissions in the atmosphere, extinct species, rapid technological progress, etc. – all these indicators reached their maximum saturation point and develop further with geometric progression.

In 2015, 193 UN member states signed a document called “Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and 169 detailed tasks of this plan are aimed to minimizing the negative impact and to maximize the positive impact on humanity and the planet. Today, these are key areas for the development of countries, including Ukraine.

Ukraine has its national plan to achieve the SDGs, which is presented in the National Report “Sustainable Development Goals: Ukraine” by the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade in cooperation with the UN in Ukraine in September 2017. National report defines benchmarks for the achievement of the SDGs and presents the national action plan by 2030. The four key areas of the national plan include:

  • fair social development;
  • sustainable economic growth and employment;
  • effective management;
  • environmental balance and sustainability.

Partnership for Sustainable Development

Desired positive changes will be possible when the triangle of business-government-society will work in partnership. This is also stated in the SDG #17.

A background for such partnership and cooperation was also established by the European Business Association in Ukraine. Innovative management approaches, new unique products and services for your customers – all this can not only generate capital for your business, but above all solve an important social or even global problem. Whether your business plans to become a part of these changes, or will remain a part of global problems – it’s up to you to decide. If you are working in global markets and initiate dialogues with your partners and suppliers about development and cooperation, start this dialogue with a common goal. How to define and realize these common global goals while remaining profitable, transparent and responsible business – we will talk during an open lecture on November 27 at the Center for Professional Development of the European Business Association.

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