A joint product of Sustainia, DNV GL, and the UN Global Compact, the Global Opportunity Explorer, details 300 ways companies can engage in “sustainable innovation,” leading to better societies as well as new business opportunities.
The Global Opportunity Explorer is categorized by 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
- SDG 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
- SDG 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
- SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages
- SDG 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all potential
- SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
- SDG 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
- SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
- SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
- SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
- SDG 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries
- SDG 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
- SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
- SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
- SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
- SDG 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
- SDG 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
- SDG 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development.
The Global Opportunity Explorer then looks at 10 business sectors, which you can pair with an SDG to find tangible solutions:
- Oil & Gas
- Basic Materials
- Consumer Goods
- Consumer Services
Here are some examples:
- Work in the fashion industry and want to tackle clean water and sanitation? You can read about technology to use natural dyes for clothing.
- Work in tech and want to tackle gender equality? You can learn about Code to Inspire’s initiative to teach Afghan girls how to code.
By compiling all such solutions in one place, the Global Opportunity Explorer could help companies that want to have more of a sustainable or positive social impact find new partners. For example, perhaps Adidas can join forces with Parley for the Oceans to design a new sneaker made from plastic ocean waste.
Here’s a brief video explaining the ideas behind the Global Opportunity Explorer tool:
The Global Opportunity Explorer seems like a great way to manifest Bill Gates’ idea of creative capitalism:
Capitalism has improved the lives of billions of people — something that’s easy to forget at a time of great economic uncertainty. But it has left out billions more. They have great needs, but they can’t express those needs in ways that matter to markets. So they are stuck in poverty, suffer from preventable diseases and never have a chance to make the most of their lives. Governments and nonprofit groups have an irreplaceable role in helping them, but it will take too long if they try to do it alone. It is mainly corporations that have the skills to make technological innovations work for the poor. To make the most of those skills, we need a more creative capitalism: an attempt to stretch the reach of market forces so that more companies can benefit from doing work that makes more people better off. We need new ways to bring far more people into the system — capitalism — that has done so much good in the world.
The Global Opportunity Explorer seems to be a great way to get companies thinking about how they can do well (i.e., be profitable) by doing good (solving the 17 SDGs).