UK sustainable development consultancy Forum for the Future has launched The Futures Centre — a platform for decision-makers to track trends, share resources and spot windows of opportunities for sustainable innovation and collaboration.
Launched last week at an event in Singapore, the goal of the tool is to provide business leaders access to "a vast online bank of futures knowledge" to help them consider the business impacts of environmental risks such as climate change, ecosystem health and resource scarcity, and opportunities to respond to them.
The Centre will be run from Singapore and is supported by the country's Economic Development Board (EDB). Forum said the content provided by the Centre will be suitable for companies around the world, although it is likely to prove particularly popular in Singapore after the country's stock exchange recently introduced new rules requiring all listed firms to produce sustainability reports by 2017.
Forum says the functionality of the Futures Centre will increase exponentially as use increases. For now, users can upload resources to the growing collection of futures intelligence, and a forthcoming comments function will facilitate discussion and exploration of what these trends mean and how to navigate them successfully.
It added that the platform will be augmented in the coming months by detailed "topic hubs" providing information on the trends impacting a specific sector. The first of these, which will go live in April, will look at the future of shipping, with other potential topics to include climate finance and biotechnology.
Forum’s chief executive, Sally Uren, said the new service would help provide global access to the organization’s treasure trove of data and analysis — through its work with Unilever and Sainsbury’s on projects such as Consumer Futures 2020 — designed to help companies future-proof their businesses.
"Futures techniques enable leaders to look beyond the here and now and see how their organizations might fare in a radically different world," she said. "For nearly two decades we have been working with our partners to help them understand just how different that world could be, giving them the insights and confidence they need to help prepare for different scenarios. Through the Futures Centre we will now be able to increase the scale and ambition of our work by giving access to our futures expertise at a truly global level."