e are at a critical moment in human history; one that asks whether we have enough resources to support the 7 billion people living on the planet today. As business leaders, we have a vested interest in and a large influence on the outcome. Regardless of our industry, we must recognize the need to improve our resource efficacy or risk failing to meet the world’s needs.
As our population continues to grow and standards of living improve in middle- to low-income countries, global commerce, food production, and health concerns will continue to expand as well. China and India are expected to push the Asian e-commerce market to $1.4 trillion by 2020. Global meat consumption is projected to increase more than 4 percent over the next decade. Half of the world’s population now lives in cities where water, electricity, and other essential resources are scarce and where infectious disease spreads quickly.
These trends are already straining our resources and will continue to do so into the future. Space and transportation infrastructures in cities are reaching capacity, droughts made worse by climate change are threatening our food and water supplies, labor shortages are on the rise, and infectious diseases outbreaks such as Ebola and Zika viruses threaten our global health.
The solution is not planting more crops, building more buildings and highway lanes, or cleaning our living and working spaces like we’ve done in the past. Instead, we must become more efficient with the resources that are already available to us.
While sustainability initiatives are a step in the right direction, their focus is limited to ensuring our businesses can ensure business survival in a world of environmental and economic uncertainty. Now we must take the next step not just to survive but to thrive by re-imagining how we use our resources.
Companies of every size and in every industry must take an honest look at how they are using their resources throughout their operations, supply chains, and distribution networks.
Beyond the environmental and societal benefits, better resource efficiency improves the profitability and growth of companies. Every product and service that we provide requires an investment in resources, and we should not let that go to waste.
At Sealed Air, we are working to meet our own sustainability goals to reduce greenhouse gas, operating costs, and risks. We’re making great strides, progressing daily, all of which can be found in our annual Sustainability Report. Businesses that recognize the risks associated with resource scarcity and are willing to invest in the technology to improve their resource efficiency will be best positioned for future success.
Beyond our internal efforts, we’re partnering with businesses to solve their most pressing resource challenges so that they, in turn, can help address those of our global community. Our proven solutions and expertise are creating a more secure food supply chain, enhancing commerce by protecting the movement of goods, and improving health by facilitating cleaner and safer environments.
Additionally, a growing number of companies around the world are recognizing the value of being more resourceful. A New Jersey glassware distributor reduced shipping damage tenfold with an on-demand protection solution, a diary plant saved $750,000 by improving its water conversation and a multinational department store chain saved $7.5 million by improving its labor productivity and cleaning processes.
Resource challenges will continue to disrupt our industries, but we have a choice to rise to the challenge or to succumb to it. While our resources may be limited, our capacity to re-imagine our resource usage is limitless.
Join the conversation by reading our Sustainability Report to learn more about how your business can re-imagine resource usage.