Seven billion people live on this planet, but it can only support about four billion, living and consuming in the way we do. And yet the world’s population is expected to peak at ten billion people in the 2050s. Making this equation add up is the world’s biggest sustainability challenge, and it is at the heart of some of the most significant ‘megatrends’ companies like Ahlstrom are facing.
Global megatrends offer a wealth of opportunities for us. Our current and future product offering is driven by the three megatrends that we have identified as the most relevant for us.
Resource scarcity, energy and environment
The population is growing fast, but the Earth’s resources are not. Demand for energy, minerals, and natural resources keeps on increasing and they are being depleted at a faster pace than they can be renewed. At the same time people around the world are increasingly concerned about the deteriorating quality of water, air, and soil. This state of affairs is not sustainable in the longer run and we have to find ways to do more with less.
Emerging needs in healthcare
Our needs for healthcare are changing fast, especially in the Western world with aging populations. It’s more convenient to perform various kinds of medical testing and diagnostics at home or on-the-go rather than at hospitals. Simultaneously, the increased amount of untreatable infections at hospitals raises the performance requirements for protective fabrics in operating rooms to a new level.
Demographics and urbanization
The world’s population continues to increase and the middle class is ever wealthier, particularly in emerging nations such as China, India, and Brazil. Also, more and more people are moving from rural areas to the metropolises and cities of the world. This change in living standards and lifestyles puts huge pressure on resources and housing. In addition, there’s a growing concern over securing safe and sustainable food supply.