Turning risk to opportunity is a mindset. It is a mindset that has transformed individuals, businesses, and markets.

Now it is clear that only those with this mindset will be able to unlock the opportunities of humanity’s greatest risk to date: climate change. It took the combined sustainability strategy of the UN Global Compact, business acumen of DNV GL, and creative communication of Sustainia to conceptualise the mindset in 2015, with the advent of the Global Opportunity Reports.

Global Opportunity Reports

Launching one month after the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Risks Report, the first Global Opportunity Report provided an antidote to the traditional risk-centric approach of business. Surveys with more than 17,000 business leaders over the five annual editions since then have revealed 55 global opportunities, regional insights, and scores of business pioneers adopting the opportunity mindset.

risk to opportunity mindset, Global Opportunity Reports

The first Global Opportunity Report in 2015 focused on five key risks from the WEF Risks Report. The report identified fifteen market opportunities stemming from these risks and included region and industry-specific analyses.

The 2016 edition expanded the total market opportunity count to 30. The report also showcased eight opportunity leaders, demonstrating a readiness to take on the responsibility of building a more sustainable future and using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a compass for this journey.

The Global Opportunity Report 2017 once more surveyed thousands of business leaders to show the opportunities behind the five key WEF risks, and identified the need for a new leadership paradigm to address the gap between risk and opportunity.

The fourth edition of the Global Opportunity Report in 2018 honed in on the four SDGs that, according to DNV GL’s “Future of Spaceship Earth” study, were most likely to miss their 2030 targets.

Having identified hundreds of opportunities and thousands of concrete solutions addressing global risks, the 2019 edition focused in more detail on climate change, ‘the biggest market disruptor’.

The 2020 edition will continue the series and will be launched in February 2020 at BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo.

The Global Opportunity Explorer

The founders of the opportunity mindset also created a digital platform to house all of the previous insights, analyses, and solutions. The Global Opportunity Explorer is the first of its kind to vet, verify, and present high-quality solutions that exist in the market, and is now the world’s leading open ecosystem for sustainable solutions. Rooted in five years of research, surveys of 17,000 business leaders and 17 expert panels from the Global Opportunity Reports, the Explorer contains over 1,000 sustainable solutions, market opportunities, and urban climate solutions, all addressing the SDGs. The platform relies on continuous co-creation and crowdsourcing for expansion. Anyone can contribute solutions for free, which are then vetted by Sustainia’s experts, and uploaded to the platform if accepted.

The Global Opportunity Explorer has also inspired a daughter site of its own, theexplorer.no is a Norwegian governmental initiative and showcases Norwegian solutions addressing the SDGs.

An opportunity mindset is paramount for 1.5°C leadership

If the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement is to be achieved then the opportunity mindset must be adopted at a far greater scale and speed. The Global Opportunity Explorer continues to gather the mindsets, strategies, and solutions from the network of adopters, inspiring corporate sustainability leadership all over the world.

Read more from the 1.5°C Business Leadership report

Inge Jan Henjesand

Academia is a Vital Bridge

BI Norwegian Business School