Vision 2050

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Estimating the order of magnitude of additional sustainability-related business opportunities in key sectors.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has been one of the key corporate sponsors of the 'Vision 2050' project of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). This short illustrative analysis prepared by PwC aims to put an order of magnitude on the additional business opportunities that might arise in key sectors if the vision of a more sustainable future in 2050 is realised.

The top-down analysis focuses on required additional business investment (as compared to a 'business as usual' case) in two key areas where sustainability issues, broadly defined as in the WBCSD's Vision 2050 study, are particularly critical: natural resources (including energy, forestry, agriculture and food, water and metals) and health and education (in terms of social sustainability).

The work estimated a range of around US$3-10 trillion in 2050 at today's values, or around 1.5- 4.5% of global GDP at that date, for the additional investment required in these sectors if the sustainable outcomes identified in the Vision 2050 report are to be achieved. These estimates relate to the additional annual business investment in 2050, which might be expected to build up gradually over the next four decades, depending on the global pace of progress on the sustainability agenda.

The research notes that many of these opportunities are likely arise in emerging economies such as the BRICs, which will account for a rising share of world GDP (from 23% now to around 38% in 2050 in the case of the four BRIC economies according to earlier PwC economics team estimates).

Whether this huge potential is realised remains to be seen, but there are certainly likely to be significant business opportunities arising over the next decade or two as the foundations for a sustainable future in 2050 begin to be put in place. Click here to read the full analysis.