by Joachim Marc Christensen

Watch the Global Opportunity Report 2018 launch

A Dive into the New Report

For four years in a row DNV GL, the United Nations Global Compact and Sustainia have released the Global Opportunity Report, which turns some of the world’s biggest challenges into sustainable business opportunities. We have identified markets that tackle a multitude of risks, from water-efficient agriculture and the wonders of drip irrigation and drone technology to put more food on our tables worldwide, to intelligent cyber security and the ability of advanced artificial intelligence to keep us safe online.

In previous reports, we have focused on five of the world’s biggest risks. This year, however, we took a slightly different approach, focusing on the Global Goals we are least likely to reach by 2030. More than two years after the adoption of the 17 goals, it is clear that not all of them are experiencing the same level of progress. This became particularly evident in DNV GL’s report The Future of Spaceship Earth, which argued that Goal 10, reduced inequality, Goal 12, responsible consumption and production, Goal 13, climate action, and Goal 14, life below water are significantly off track to meet their targets in 12 years time.

These four goals are the focus of the new Global Opportunity Report, and the urgency to step up efforts for them has been reiterated in recent reports and studies. For example, environmental and climate-related risks top the risk list in World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2018, and Oxfam’s Reward Work, Not Wealth documents global inequality and points out that the richest one percent of Earth’s population earned 82 percent of the wealth generated last year.

Four lagging goals, 10 opportunities

In this report, we present 10 business opportunities for Goal 10, 12, 13 and 14, and 40 companies or entrepreneurs who have already tapped into these markets. Here is the full list of opportunities with links for you to explore further:

Goal 10, Reduced Inequalities

Unchaining Land Rights: Unlocking land rights with blockchain.

Illuminating Supply Chain: Improving supply chain transparency with blockchain.

Goal 12, Responsible Consumption and Production

Alternative Food Sources: Integrating insects in our food products/systems.

Construction in Progress: Rethinking construction to focus on longevity, refurbishment, and material recovery and reuse.

Reuse to Repower: Doubling the lifetime of EV batteries in stationary energy storage.

Goal 13, Climate Action

Upcycling Carbon: Utilizing captured CO2 in new materials and products.

Keeping it Cool: Cooling everything from housing to data centers with energy efficient methods.

Sustainable Shipping: Reducing the shipping industry’s reliance on fossil fuels.

Goal 14, Life Below Water

Reimaging Plastics: Rethinking how we design and use plastic, particularly in single-use applications.

Alternative Aquaculture: Transforming aquaculture with alternative feed sources and innovative close-looped land based systems.

The opportunities, as with the goals, are quite varied in nature. Yet they all represent markets which are likely to quickly expand over the coming years. Aquaculture, for example, is expected to grow into a US $220 billion industry by 2022, and companies such as FarmInABox are already seizing this opportunity with new sustainable, aquaculture systems. We also anticipate that blockchain will become a key technology in reducing worldwide inequality as it can bring security, transparency and empowerment to underprivileged citizens. BenBen is one of the first-movers in this field with its blockchain-powered digital land transaction platform.

Furthermore, all the opportunities are intrinsically linked, just as all of the 17 Global Goals. For example, reducing oil-based plastics addresses both Goal 12 and 14, and sustainable shipping will help advance both Goal 13 and 14. This interconnectedness has been an ongoing trend in all of the Global Opportunities Reports: Not only the world’s biggest challenges are closely linked, but the biggest opportunities addressing them are mostly found in the intersections of traditional markets – new water technology helps food production progress, and renewable energy brings about cleaner transportation and better health, as evidenced in the figure below.

Read or download the Global Opportunity Report 2018 and explore its 10 opportunities and 40 solutions on the Global Opportunity Explorer.

We want more companies and organizations to join us in supporting the development and scaling of sustainable solutions across the globe. If you want to learn more about how you can become a partner on the Global Opportunity Explorer, contact CEO of Sustainia, Rasmus Schjødt Pedersen at