From electric cars not being cost competitive until 2030 to video conferencing being worth $3.6bn by 2016, the green business world is full of predictions and prophecies—most of which should be taken with a hefty dose of uncertainty. Nevertheless, a report from Forum for the Future arguing that sustainable products will be mainstream by 2020 should be taken seriously by the business world.
With Unilever and Sainsbury's already endorsing the report, this is one of those cases where the prediction itself can help make the reality happen. Crucially, the report focuses not just on responding to consumer demand for sustainability, but creating it:
Retail businesses are used to responding to consumer demand, or 'pull' - it is their principal business driver - but this will not deliver the radical changes we need to create a prosperous, resource-efficient world. Most consumers don't have enough information, opportunity or motivation to make sustainable choices about how they buy and use products, so 'green' or 'sustainable' consumption is still niche and companies make only incremental improvements. Leading brands need to take the initiative and work together to stimulate consumer pull on sustainability and make 'sustainable consumption' mainstream.