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Climate-related issues are growing in urgency, sustainability experts say

Sustainability experts view climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, water scarcity, food security and water pollution as increasingly severe challenges, according to the latest GlobeScan/ERM survey.

Insight of the Week chart on climate change, food security, related issues becoming urgent, according to experts

Source: Alana Duval/GlobeScan

The latest edition of the annual GlobeScan / ERM Sustainability Institute Leaders Survey has found that sustainability experts see climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, water scarcity, food security, and water pollution as increasingly severe challenges. 

The survey captures the perspectives of almost 500 sustainability experts in 65 countries worldwide on the priorities and forces shaping the sustainable development agenda. The survey explores sustainability leadership across governments, NGOs, and companies and tracks priority issues as well as the most important recent developments.  

Nearly all experts surveyed (96 percent) see climate change as the most critical challenge. More than 8 in 10 experts view biodiversity loss, deforestation, water scarcity, water pollution and food security as being among the most urgent issues, and these five sustainable development challenges that sustainability experts rate as being among the most urgent from a list of 18 challenges are also the most closely connected with climate change. The perceived urgency of food security has increased substantially over the past five years, suggesting that the growing severity of this challenge is directly linked to climate change, water scarcity and other interrelated sustainability issues.

What does this mean?

Sustainability experts have confirmed the need to address the interconnected challenges of climate change, nature and food/nutrition. Interconnected problems call for interconnected solutions from government, business and civil society, and these solutions must be built on holistic approaches, collaboration, policy integration, business innovation and community empowerment. Read more on what’s expected from sustainability leaders in our Sustainability Leaders 2024 ;report.

Survey question: Considering society’s numerous sustainable development challenges, please rate the urgency of each of the following: climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, water scarcity, water pollution, food security. Please use a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 means "not urgent at all" and 5 means "very urgent."

Source: 2024 GlobeScan / ERM Sustainability Institute Leaders Survey of 485 experts representing business, government, NGOs, and academia across 65 countries from April to May.

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