As 2012 comes to a close, GreenBiz asked executives from a range of companies and organizations to reflect on the past year and look at what lies ahead.
A few big themes emerged: the failure to make significant progress at major global conclaves -- Rio+20 and the Doha Climate Change conference in particular -- the lack of urgency and action from policymakers on climate change, and the need for stronger, more transparent standards and ratings systems to meet increased consumer, investor, and corporate demand.
Here's what they said when we asked:
What were the most significant sustainability trends in 2012?
Mark Lee, Executive Director, SustainAbility:
My three young children! And worrying about their future on a hotter planet. It looks bleak on climate change/arresting global warming. What are we leaving them?
Peter Madden, Chief Executive, Forum for the Future:
The fact that the financial sector institutions still have their heads in the sand. They urgently need to start valuing things appropriately and investing for sustainability. But at the moment, they seem to be going backwards, not forwards.
Angela Nahikian, Director of Global Environmental Sustainability, Steelcase:
The scale of change still needed The challenges of globalization: both in implementing sustainability and in the core business challenges it creates.
Aron Cramer, President & CEO, BSR
Climate change is moving much faster than thought, and much faster than action that's needed to transition to low-carbon prosperity.
Amy Hargroves, Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, Sprint Nextel Corporation:
The lack of standards in reporting, in supplier requirements, in products, is creating unnecessary complexity and work load. Will the new GRI report be better or worse than G3.1?
Neil Hawkins, Vice President, Global Sustainability and EH&S, Dow Chemical Co.:
The specter of a global recession if the Euro crises does not end favorably.
Next page: Is disruption the new normal?