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The 10 global megaforces and how they relate to sustainability

The 10 global megaforces shutterstock_170769410

KPMG produced a piece of research titled “Expect the unexpected” that powerfully illustrates how the 10 global mega forces all relate in some way to the sustainability agenda and that businesses need to become much more aware of these trends. It predicts that pressure will continue to grow on businesses to account and pay for the full cost of their environmental impacts. The next two decades will feature governments ramping up how they address the effects of these mega forces. (See below for further detail.) These significant changes and challenges will produce both risks and opportunities.

There will be many climate-change billionaire’s while at the same time, there will be casualties when businesses fail to properly address these changes.

A key point raised in the report is that the removal of all of the externalities and subsidies that are currently not properly taken into account when assessing the price of products and services (such as impact on climate, society, water, resource availability, security, resilience and biodiversity, etc.) will increase the costs of doing business regardless of where you are in the world.

Environmental governance for business leaders

  • The changing environment. Every business needs to know how it will be affected by climate change across its whole value chain.
  • Rising costs. Companies need to know how their operations are affected.
  • Reputation. The link between environment and reputation has strengthened. Society has driving a need for environmental disclosure.
  • Investors. Investors have been very slow to recognize the need for firms to manage their sustainability, but they are now asking for better and more consistent reporting.
  • Company governance. A government cannot micromanage the way an economy addresses all aspects of the environmental challenge. As a result, there will be a greater emphasis placed on business management to take responsibility.


– Climate change – Directly impacts all other mega forces.

– Energy and fuel – Fossil-fuel markets will become more volatile.

– Resource scarcity – Demand for resources will rise dramatically.

– Water scarcity – Global demand for water will exceed supply by 40 percent.

– Population growth – Predicted 8.4 billion people by 2032.

– Wealth – The global middle class will have grown 172 percent by 2030.

– Urbanization – By 2030, most people will live in urban areas.

– Food security – Pressure on global food production systems will continue to rise.

– Ecosystem decline – This will make natural resources scarcer, more expensive and less diverse.

– Deforestation – Forest areas will decline globally by 13 percent by 2030.

“Sustainable business is just business common sense.”
Jae Mather, Jae Mather
Director of sustainability
LEA member firm HW Fisher & Co., London