We’re big fans of science. So when the CSIRO – Australia’s national scientific research agency – released their once-in-a-decade Our Future World report identifying global ‘megatrends’ that will impact Australian people, businesses and government in the years ahead, this week, we took note.
Thousands of data points were analysed. 357 references were cited. A bunch of experts were consulted. Seven key trends were settled on. In a shock to no one, plenty of the predictions relate to the climate emergency, as well as the future of business and work.
We’ve picked out our five key takeaways and what they mean for employees and companies.
1. Towards net zero and beyond
Whether your workplace is on board or not, the world is moving towards net zero emissions. Decarbonisation initiatives have been embraced by governments, citizens and even major global investors who are pledging to only finance companies that meet the 2050 reduction target. In fact, 69% of Australians support domestic action to get the whole country to net-zero emissions – so if ‘people’ are your company’s target audience (and we’re betting they are), it’s probably time to meet their expectations.
2. Environmental, social and corporate governance is on the agenda
It’s no longer just profit margins that are used to judge a company’s performance. More and more, environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) metrics are used alongside economic ones to measure success. In a world that’s demanding sustainable business practices and action on climate change, organisations that proactively reduce their environmental impact could improve their standing not just in the economy, but also in society. Win-win.
3. Clean energy industries are on the rise
Did you know renewable energy sources are expected to surpass coal as the primary source of global electricity by 2025? Yes, just three years from now. And with new technology comes new industries, and with new industries comes – you guessed it – a whole new bunch of jobs. This means existing employers will have to compete with these new-breed companies to attract and retain talent, empowering workers to demand climate action in their current roles or to move on to (literal) greener pastures if change doesn’t occur.
4. Consumers are becoming more empowered and socially aware
Socially conscious consumers are demanding transparency, voting with their wallets and taking back some of the power from large corporations. Awareness of environmental issues is a driving force for ESG initiatives. In fact, a survey of over 1,000 Australians found 85% of them want greater transparency from companies around sustainability and ethical practices. So organisations that commit to and communicate strong environmental values could see an uptick in their reputations – and their bottom lines.
5. Renewable energy demand is rising
With global energy demand predicted to increase dramatically over the next 20 years (especially in China and India), Australia is uniquely placed to respond. After all, with the highest per capita wind and solar capacity across the developed nations, we have a natural advantage. This means that not only can we develop and export low-emission energy and technology across the globe, but it will also become easier and cheaper to switch to 100% renewable energy in our own workplaces. The business case almost writes itself.
You can check out the entire ‘Our Future World’ report here.