The Global Conversation on Sustainable Markets

Work on sustainable markets is taking place on a global scale.

As part of writing Transformative Markets, I used the algorithms of Quid, an AI platform, to analyze over 2,800 news stories about the public conversation taking place around the world about sustainable markets. Transformative Markets is due to publish in April.

I define a sustainable market as one that produces the goods and services we use every day in a way that respects the natural, human, and social capital that goes into production so that it provides a net positive to society rather than being a drag on precious resources, be they human or natural resources.

Community-based and operated solar, geothermal, and wind projects that provide clean, affordable energy to residents is an example of a sustainable market.

The Global Conversation

Through Quid’s “Big data” machine learning tens of thousands of English-language news articles were scanned to identify the organizations and individuals that are the focus of conversations centered around the topic of sustainable markets. In the more than 2,800 most relevant stories from November 2018 – November 2019, common actors were identified that are responsible for facilitating sustainable markets across geographies, industries, and sectors. The data was then organized in a way to visually represent how actors are connected to each other in creating sustainable markets, around what topics the conversations are occurring and in what geographies.

Global Conversations on Sustainable Markets

India and the United States (darkest shade of red) are leading the conversation, followed by countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, and the United Kingdom (in maroon). It is worth noting that China – the starting point for many global supply chains – and resource-rich countries such as Australia, Canada, Russia prominently appear in this conversation. That finding indicates that responsible supply chain management is a key factor in sustainable markets, something that will be explored in greater detail in Transformative Markets.

This map also demonstrates something very important – work on sustainable markets is taking place on a global scale. The conversations may not be occurring with the alacrity we need to quickly accelerate greater sustainable market development, but they are happening. That means many of the hard lessons in creating sustainable markets have been learned. The knowledge exists. The business case has been proven. We have the resources and the expertise.

Transformative Markets

If we are to build more sustainable markets, we must better understand why markets are the true creators of sustained, long-term value. Following on that, how can actors in today’s markets better collaborate to create markets that do just that? Answers to that important question will be explored in Transformative Markets– something that has not been definitively laid out in existing research on sustainable markets.