"The Earth’s resources are finite, making the importance of developing sustainable ways to operate increasingly urgent. It can be challenging for businesses to think long-term, but today’s economic, social, and environmental opportunities and obstacles require it. Companies are now being confronted with the stark reality that they are operating on a planet with finite resources.
Continuing to operate in this reality requires creativity and innovation, and leading companies are rising to the challenge by looking at how to manage natural resources differently, how to measure them more accurately, and how to develop products and processes that use them more efficiently. This new type of business thinking will ensure sustained growth that balances productivity and profitability with the planet and its people.
Growing interest in a circular economy — where products and services are designed for maximum resource utility, upstream and downstream longevity, and responsible end of life regeneration — is being driven by technology and innovation.
Leading companies are already using digitization to enable smart manufacturing, which reduces natural resource consumption. Increasingly, product materials are being reimagined and developed using biomimicry, or reclaimed for reuse at end of life. Companies are taking leading positions on renewable energy buying, energy storage, and water and waste reduction solutions.
The transition to circular design, everything-as-a-service business models, and reverse logistics are creating a path of systemic change toward a more sustainable world. The increasingly favorable economics of responsibility are helping to drive this change.
For decades, “green” solutions came with a high price tag. The tide is turning, however, and today, the direct costs of being green are frequently no greater than — or even substantially less — than non-green alternatives. Consider the cost of renewable energy, which has fallen dramatically in the past decade thanks to technological advancements, making solar power the least expensive form of energy in over 60 developing countries."