The growth of investment in sustainable business programs will be between 50 and 100 percent higher in 2013 than in 2011, according to new projections by analyst firm Verdantix.
The firm predicts that the global sustainable business market will reach a “tipping point” in 2013, based on an analysis of the spending patterns of more than 2,500 global firms. Spend on sustainability programs by Australian, Canadian, U.K. and U.S. companies with over $1 billion in sales will hit $60 billion in 2013, Verdantix predicts.
“Spending on sustainable business initiatives such as energy efficiency, sustainability assurance and cleantech innovation is positively correlated with global economic growth,” Verdantix director David Metcalfe said. “By 2013 a powerful mix of market drivers, led by the forecasted global economic rebound, will significantly increase strategic investment in sustainability programmes. The arrival of the 2013 tipping point will be good news for cash-strapped cleantech innovators and struggling sustainability entrepreneurs.”
Verdantix said its analysis is based on four years of research on sustainable business market trends and the firm’s proprietary Critical Moments market size and forecast models.
The analyst said that over the past four years, its research has shown the rise of the chief sustainability officer (CSO), who increasingly leads the strategic development of enterprise-wide sustainability programs. Firms including AECOM, Alcoa, Capgemini, Orange, SAP, Smithfield Foods, UPS and Vedanta Resources now have CSOs with budget and authority, Verdantix said.
The analyst firm said that the global recession killed the idea of sustainable business spending as an ethical imperative to simply stop climate change. Instead, boards are increasingly in tune with the idea that global economic growth increases natural resource costs and causes risky environmental impacts, changing the source of competitive advantage.
By 2013, CEOs will be more receptive to big environmental investments as they continue to face booming demand in Asia, proven benefits from clean-tech innovation, an increasingly tough policy environment and evidence that sustainable offerings can drive topline growth, Verdantix added.
“The last 4 years have been a roller-coaster ride for people working in sustainability and cleantech,” Verdantix senior manager Janet Lin said. “In 2007 many investors and executives believed global policy on climate change would create a vast new carbon market and consumers would demand ‘green’ brands. Today, the perspective is more complex and the market opportunity is more significant.”