Sustainability: An Unstoppable Megatrend

megatrends Sustainability: An Unstoppable Megatrend

Sustainability is not a passing fad or amarketing gimmick, it is a worldwide movement that is changing the waywe do business. Sustainability entails continued development or growth,without significant deterioration of the environment and depletion ofnatural resources on which human well-being depends. This definitionmeasures income as flow of goods and services that an economy cangenerate indefinitely without reducing its natural productive capacity.

Sustainability is more than a trend, a trend reflects a pattern of gradual change in a condition, output, or process, or an average or general tendency of aseries of data points to move in a certain direction over time,represented by a line or curve on a graph. The term megatrend waspopularized by John Naisbitt in his 1982 bestseller "Megatrends". Rather than being a function of a series of data points, the term megatrendreflects a general shift in thinking or approach affecting entirecountries, industries, and organizations.

In the May 2010 issue of HarvardBusiness Review there is a feature article titled ‘The SustainabilityImperative’. The feature is written by David Lubin from theSustainability Network and Daniel Esty from Yale University. Togetherthey argue that sustainability is the next transformational businessmegatrend comparable to mass production, manufacturing quality movement, IT revolution, and globalization.

The authors suggest firmsseeking to gain a competitive advantage must know what to do and how todo it. With many already onboard businesses must act now, as thisunstoppable megatrend will make or break companies around the world.

Historically business megatrends have forced fundamental and persistent shifts inhow companies compete. Some businesses come out of them as winners andothers as losers. Likewise, the sustainability megatrend will havewinners and losers, those who are proactive may prosper, for others itmay already be too late.