GEMI Releases New Report on Future Forces That Will Disrupt Sustainable Business

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The Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI) launched a new report, Future Forces That Will Disrupt Sustainable Business: a full-spectrum thinking approach to building sustainability, prepared by the Institute for the Future (IFTF).

We expect that these four future forces will have different effects–and in different proportions–on different companies and organizations, but that together they will shape the world we live in over the coming decade

Today, the Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI) launched a new report, Future Forces That Will Disrupt Sustainable Business (http://gemi.org/futureforces), prepared by the Institute for the Future (IFTF).

“In 2007, GEMI worked with IFTF to create a ten-year forecast of forces affecting sustainability. While that original map of the future served as a helpful guiding document in the past, GEMI’s member companies indicated that the global changes that have taken place since that original forecast demanded an updated outlook,” said Bill Gill, AVP Sustainability, Smithfield Foods and GEMI Chair.

In early 2019, GEMI and IFTF began a new ten-year forecast project to examine the challenge of doing business in a rapidly changing world, where the definition of ‘sustainability’ is broadening and every business wants to build and maintain a ‘sustainable’ business model.

The resulting report being shared publicly for the first time today, Future Forces That will Disrupt Sustainable Business, examines four future forces that are external drivers of change that IFTF believes have the power to upend today’s business models over the coming ten years, including New Spectrums of Meaning, New Spectrums of Resources, New Spectrums of Time, and New Spectrums of Value Creation.

Each of the forces identified by IFTF in the report include several “signals of change”, or existing initiatives that provide examples from today and hints as to how these forces may play out into the future.

“GEMI appreciates the expertise IFTF brings in foresight – looking to the future through a systematic, plausible, and provocative lens. It is important to recognize that foresight is not a prediction, but that from foresight comes insight which can lead to action. It is up to each organization to decide how to take action based on newfound insights gained from the foresight IFTF has provided to GEMI,” said Gill.

The report is built around the idea of full-spectrum thinking, a concept pioneered by IFTF distinguished fellow Bob Johansen in his new book called Full-Spectrum Thinking: How to Escape Boxes in a Post-Categorical Future. “Full-spectrum thinking is the ability to seek clarity across gradients of possibility—while avoiding the temptations of certainty,” said Bob Johansen, Distinguished Fellow, IFTF.

The report includes an executive summary, as well as an annotated presentation outlining each of the four forces and associated “signals” in detail, and is available at no cost through GEMI’s website at http://gemi.org/solutions/future-forces-that-will-disrupt-sustainable-business/

“IFTF asks readers to grapple with these forces and to consider how each might disrupt their organization—as well as open up new opportunities. IFTF’s forecast provides an outside-in perspective of key forces that they believe may impact GEMI members, and other businesses globally, going forward and is meant to provoke new conversations outside of today’s traditional sustainability considerations, whether you necessarily agree with IFTF’s forecast or not,” said Steve Hellem, Executive Director, GEMI.

Building on the foresights in this new forecast, GEMI intends to launch a new Sustainability Disruption Project to bring corporate sustainability leaders together to continue to understand and develop strategies to help business to efficiently respond and lead through emerging disruptions such as those identified by IFTF. To learn more about opportunities to participate in this project, please contact Steve Hellem at GEMI.

“We expect that these four future forces will have different effects–and in different proportions–on different companies and organizations, but that together they will shape the world we live in over the coming decade,” concluded Bob Johansen.

GEMI would like to thank the GEMI-IFTF project participants for their contribution and engagement in this project, including American Forest & Paper Association, Carnival Corp & plc, CBRE, ConocoPhillips, Dell, The Dow Chemical Company, ExxonMobil Chemical Company, FedEx Corp, Gannett Fleming, Ingersoll Rand, Lockheed Martin Corporation, SABIC, Schlumberger, Sealed Air Corporation, Smithfield Foods, and Waste Management.

About GEMI
The Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI) is a global leader in developing insights, networking, and creating collaborative sustainability solutions for business. For over 25 years, GEMI has captured the vision and experience of global corporate environmental, health and safety, and sustainability leaders from diverse business sectors through the development of a wide range of publicly-available, solutions-based tools designed to help companies improve the environment and their operations, and add business value. http://www.gemi.org

About IFTF
Institute for the Future is the world’s leading futures organization. For over 50 years, businesses, governments, and social impact organizations have depended upon IFTF global forecasts, custom research, and foresight training to navigate complex change and develop world-ready strategies. IFTF methodologies and toolsets yield coherent views of transformative possibilities across all sectors that together support a more sustainable future. Institute for the Future is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Palo Alto, California. http://www.iftf.org

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