The 2016 Sustainia100 is out today and this year's solutions provide a glimpse into a global business landscape that is seizing a world of opportunities that arise from the UN's newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Get ready for an inspirational round-the-world trip to the 100 most innovative, available, scalable and sustainable solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. From health solutions that tackle climate change to renewable energy products that alleviate gender inequality, this year's Sustainia100 sets out the most outstanding solutions which respond to the interconnected global challenges addressed through the Sustainable Development Goals.
According to our findings, this is the year of "systemic opportunity" with more businesses around the world acknowledging the business case for solving global risks.
“The term 'systemic' often brings to mind intractable problems, such as systemic poverty or systemic corruption. The global goals give us focus and pace, so we think it's time to reclaim the word and talk about systemic opportunity, instead. The Sustainia100 shows us that the most compelling and successful solutions tackle multiple challenges and global goals, in one go," Morten Nielsen, managing director of Sustainia, explained.
The Sustainia100 is the fifth of its kind, behind which sits a database of more than 4,500 solutions from all over the world. This year's edition features solutions deployed in 188 countries and more than half come from the SME sector.
In her foreword to the Sustainia100, Lise Kingo, the executive director of United Nations Global Compact, reflects on the pace and direction set by the Sustainable Development Goals:
“The Sustainia100 offers us 100 reasons to be hopeful and inspired as we embark on this 15 year journey. The innovative thinking needed to accomplish the SDGs by 2030 already exists today. Now our task is to spread the word about these transformative solutions in order to help them scale and inspire new actors to take part in forging the path to a more sustainable future."
Since 2012, the Sustainia100 has tracked the rise of the circular economy, big data, leapfrog technologies, climate resilience and community action as some of the most defining trends within sustainable action. In 2016, the publication highlights four new trends that stem from the solutions identified.
Morten Nielsen continued: “The trends we've noted point to this new era of systemic opportunity. You can readily see this in the way that cities are becoming health facilitators or the disruption of the time-old electric grid, as just two great examples of big shifts in opportunity-spotting. It's exciting to see global markets respond favorably to this new landscape of sustainable action."
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At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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