Energy issues are seen by sustainability experts as the most important sustainable development challenge facing their country, the latest findings from the SustainAbility Survey reveal. But the findings also highlight some significant differences from region to region in perceptions of what the pressing issues are, and confirm that use of resources of all kinds is likely to dominate the agenda as emerging economies continue to develop.
Several times a year, GlobeScan and SustainAbility interview a panel of experts from around the world who work on sustainability issues within corporations, NGOs, academia, government departments, and scientific institutions. They are regularly asked to predict what the most critical sustainability issues will be over the months and years to come.
Energy is mentioned as the most urgent issue in North America, Europe, and emerging markets. While climate change emerges as the second most important issue in North America, in emerging markets water issues are seen to be nearly as critical as energy. Emerging markets are also more concerned than their industrialized-world peers about poverty and inequity, as well as deforestation and land use issues.
The results also show that European experts are more likely to be concerned about economic issues in the context of the ongoing Eurozone debt crisis, while awareness of sustainable development challenges is more frequently seen as an urgent issue by North Americans.
Finding from The 2011 GlobeScan/SustainAbility Survey
This post was written by former GlobeScan Research Director, Sam Mountford.