Ethical Corporation polishes its crystal ball, and the view’s on the gloomy side

Corporate sustainability will evolve in 2013 in the context of three overarching themes: the search for a way past the environmental impasse, the unresolved need to redefine business in times of austerity, and the continuing development of technology.

So say the members of Ethical Corporation’s editorial panel. And getting into the specifics, the picture doesn’t really get much brighter.

Climate change will remain the biggest, ugliest challenge. Economic growth in 2013 will continue to be at the expense of the environment. In Europe, aided by corporate efforts, greenhouse gas emissions are declining, though not enough. In North America, the switch of energy sources from coal to shale gas has also meant significant emissions cuts. But in the emerging world, massive environmental damage will continue to be incurred in 2013.

Evidence of the risks to business of global warming will continue to accumulate in 2013. There will probably be a continuation of the extreme weather that was seen in 2012; ice cover in the Arctic may plunge to a new summer low, breaking 2012’s grim record. As the evidence mounts, calls for action will grow stronger, though 2013 is unlikely to see a major breakthrough in terms of an international strategy to tackle...

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