Businesses must work together with government and society to develop strategies to ensure that a global population of about 9 billion people lives well within the planet’s resources by 2050, according to a report from Alcoa and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). The organizations launched their Vision 2050 report at the World CEO Forum in New Delphi.
The joint report, “Vision 2050: The New Agenda for Business” (PDF), outlines new business opportunities valued at about $6.2 trillion that will lead to a sustainable world by 2050 without additional harm to biodiversity, the climate, and the ecosystem.
Some of these opportunities include developing and maintaining low-carbon, zero-waste cities and infrastructure, which will also create opportunities for finance information/communication technology and partnerships, according to the report.
Vision 2050 covers nine areas. These include:
— People’s values: “One World People and Planet” lifestyles
— Human development: Basic needs of all are met
— Economy: True value, true costs, true profits
— Agriculture: Enough food, water and biofuels through a new Green Revolution
— Forests: Recovery and regeneration
— Energy and Power: Secure and sufficient supply of low-carbon energy
— Buildings: Close to zero net energy buildings
— Mobility: Universal access to safe and low-impact mobility
— Materials: Not a particle of waste
More specifically, the Vision 2050 agenda calls for doubling agricultural output without increasing the amount of land or water used, stopping deforestation and increasing yields from planted forests, delivering a four- to ten-fold improvement in the use of resources and materials, and cutting carbon emissions worldwide (based on 2005 levels) in half by 2050, with greenhouse gas emissions peaking around 2020 through a shift to low-carbon energy systems and improvements in demand-side energy efficiency.
A WBCSD study on energy efficiency in buildings indicates that the global building sector needs to cut energy consumption in buildings 60 percent by 2050 to help meet global climate change targets.
Some industry sectors already have started efforts to cut their emissions by 50 percent. As an example, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and the International Business Aviation Council have agreed to reduce carbon emissions caused by the business aviation sector by 50 percent by 2050.
The report indicates that continued improvements in areas such as water consumption efficiency and reuse, energy, wastewater treatment, forest management and agriculture will keep the world on track toward living within the resources of the planet.
Other strategies include meeting the development needs of billions of people, enabling education and economic empowerment particularly of women, and developing more eco-efficient solutions, lifestyles and behavior. The plan also recommends including the cost of carbon, ecosystem services and water into the marketplace as well as providing universal access to low-carbon mobility.
Similarly, a report released by DB Climate Change Advisors last year focuses on the challenge of how to sustainably meet the growing energy and food demands of a global population approaching nine billion people in 2050. The report calls for farm modernization, free markets and technology adoption.