A new global initiative launching Wednesday by DNV GL and Scandinavian innovation think tank Monday Morning Global Institute aims to identify opportunities for sustainable responses to a range of global risks. A series of eight workshops beginning this week around the globe marks the start of the identification process — with the results to be published in the first Global Opportunity Report in January 2015.
The first workshop takes place Wednesday in Johannesburg. In the coming weeks, workshops in Abu Dhabi, London, Mumbai, Oslo, Shanghai, San Francisco and Sao Paulo will follow, all gathering unique, localized insights into how societies can handle looming sustainability challenges in ways that not only protect life and property today but also act as leverage to create more prosperous and resilient societies for the future.
“Seeing sustainability challenges as opportunities rather than risks might seem a bit optimistic at first glance, but it is a necessary change of mindset,” says Bjørn K. Haugland, Chief Sustainability Officer at DNV GL. “We know that we need to act fast and in collaboration if we are to address the problems ahead of us. Looking only at the risks to lifestyles and business as we know it might cloud our vision. The greatest risk we are facing is not seeing the opportunities in the transition to a safe and sustainable future.”
The Global Opportunity Workshops will identify opportunities related to five global risks:
- extreme weather
- continued rise in non-communicable diseases
- water scarcity
- urban breakdown
- lock-in to fossil fuels
The workshops — called Opportunity Panels — will gather creative and innovative individuals from business, academia, NGOs, youth organizations and public offices.
“We need the input from all sectors to help identify areas of investment with the promise of creating long-term value for society, not just short-term profit,” points out Erik Rasmussen, founder and CEO of Monday Morning Global Institute.
Following the workshops, a global survey will be carried out to test which of the identified opportunities holds the greatest attraction to stakeholders. Building on the initial eight workshops, the project will then develop the Global Opportunity Network. The aim of this is to provide an arena to share initiatives on how an opportunity-focused mindset can be furthered and how concrete alliances for sustainability can be forged.
“We don’t stop after mapping the opportunities," Rasmussen added. "The Global Opportunity Report will also test the reception of the identified opportunities by rating them with the help of hundreds of stakeholders. This rating will help identify the areas where strong alliances for sustainable action most likely can be forged."