By Daniel Hunter

The Technology Strategy Board — the UK’s innovation agency and Forum for the Future — the global sustainability non-profit organisation, today (Tuesday) launch ‘Horizons’ (beta), a free digital tool designed to help businesses identify sustainability issues, risks and opportunities, and integrate them into strategy, commercial decisions, and innovation.

The world is changing fast. The pressures of climate change, population growth, food and energy security, and social inequality are increasing daily - and these issues are changing the operating environment for business. Pioneering businesses are responding to those challenges and seizing the opportunities they present. Companies like Caterpillar, Unilever and PepsiCo are developing new business models, products and services, and changing their relationships with consumers.

Deborah Meaden said: “Despite the challenges of these difficult economic times, I believe there is a genuine desire amongst UK businesses to embrace sustainability. Growing numbers are seeing the business case of understanding the big trends coming their way and working for the long term, and Horizons is a great resource to help them do that.”

Richard Miller, the Technology Strategy Board’s Head of Sustainability, said: “The sustainability challenge that the world economy faces represents a fantastic opportunity for smart and innovative businesses to create new products, services and business models. Bringing sustainability thinking into mainstream business activities is the most important thing we can do to make that opportunity real.”

Horizons is open access, and is made up of a number of ‘cards’ which outline the issues and trends driving the development of our future economy — like access to information, levels of pollution, public trust, and energy security. Detailed information on why each issue is important is available, plus links, films and case studies to bring the issues to life.

Jonathon Porritt, of global sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future, said:
“We can’t predict the details of our future economy. But we do know the trends driving its development — like the rolling IT revolution, climate change, public trust, food security. These factors shape markets and disrupt business models. Business need to address the risk that presents. But crucially, there’s a huge business opportunity there for the taking.”

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