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Experts map sustainable growth opportunities

Bjørn Kj. Haugland on stage at GOP Høvik June 2015
Panelists at the recent opportunity panel talks held at DNV GL’s headquarters in Høvik, identified the development of an integrated transport system - to address the risk of accelerating transport emissions - as the opportunity that could have the biggest positive impact on societies. [Photo: Mads Schwencke]
Around 250 sustainability experts recently gathered on five continents to identify fifteen opportunities to address five major global risks. The result will be a map of opportunities for businesses and governments alike to be published in the second edition of the Global Opportunity Report in February 2016.
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GOP Høvik work session
The workshops and an accompanying global survey will inform the Global Opportunity Report to be published in February 2016. [Photo: Mads Schwencke]
GOP participants Høvik
The second most popular opportunity identified at the Høvik opportunity panel talks was the introduction of protein rich plant-based meat in human diets, presented by Per Espen Stoknes, senior lecturer at the Norwegian Business School in Oslo and KPMG sustainability consultant Cilia Holmes Indahl. “The production processes for meat alternatives and corresponding business models that incentivize consumers to eat less meat will benefit society and is actionable” says Indahl. [Photo: Mads Schwencke]
Jan-Olaf Willums and Nina Skarbø
“The opportunity panels are a great resource for insight and to spot new innovations and business ideas,” says Jan-Olaf Willums, chairman of Inspire Invest. Seen here with Nina Skarbø, communication manager for the Global Opportunity Report. Willums believes "sharing economy for business is an untapped opportunity” and recommended the use of electric vehicles to replace company cars on a large scale. [Photo: Mads Schwencke]

Over the past two weeks, 250 of the world’s most innovative minds met in eight cities to tackle five major challenges to global resilience and sustainability. As part of the Global Opportunity Network, these experts will identify and map sustainable opportunities to be found in these global risks. After a vetting process, the results will be published in a publicly available report. The initiative for this has been taken by the UN Global Compact, DNV GL and the Monday Morning Global Institute.

“With this report, the partners aim to demonstrate how global sustainability challenges and risks can be seen as opportunities,” says Bjorn K. Haugland, Chief Sustainability Officer at DNV GL. “The work provides an open innovation platform where stakeholders worldwide can explore and capture sustainability opportunities and solutions. The most exciting new opportunities go into the Global Opportunity Report.”

The eight opportunity panels consisted of experts from business, public offices and civil society. They identified opportunities related to five specific risks: resistance to lifesaving medicine, the global food crisis, accelerating transport emissions, the loss of ocean biodiversity and a generation wasted on youth unemployment. The first panel was held in San Francisco on 29 May, followed by panels in Sao Paulo, Johannesburg, Oslo, Abu Dhabi, London, Delhi and Beijing.

“We need the input from all sectors to help investment areas with the promise of creating long-term value for society, not just short-term profit,” adds Erik Rasmussen, Founder and CEO of Monday Morning Global Institute. “We don’t stop at mapping the opportunities. The Global Opportunity Report also rates the opportunities in a large survey of public and private leaders worldwide. This rating helps identify the areas where strong alliances to bring about sustainable action can most likely be forged.”

Haugland and Rasmussen believe it is no longer enough to manage risk on an ongoing basis. Rather, risks require systematic and comprehensive responses. It is from this mindset that a myriad of opportunities for building better societies and businesses arise.

“Businesses are responding to the global context, moving beyond their basic responsibilities and going into a strategic opportunity space. Indeed, more and more companies are seeing global challenges as opportunities” says Georg Kell, Executive Director, UN Global Compact. He concludes, “The Global Opportunity Report and Network strive to demonstrate that in every risk there is opportunity, and that every opportunity is sustainable, meaning that opportunities are chances to create long-term value, not just short term profit.”

After identifying a set of sustainable responses to the risks, the Global Opportunity Network will survey over 5,000 public and private sector leaders from around the world to rank the opportunities identified at the opportunity panels. The resulting guide to the greatest global opportunities of the coming year will be published in the Global Opportunity Report in February 2016.

For more information, please visit the www.globalopportunitynetwork.org