New report reveals: Business a key activist in turning global risks into opportunities

From all corners of the world, business leaders echo the same message: societal risks need urgent action. However, some of the most pressing risks – such as youth unemployment and the global food crisis – are also where leaders see the greatest business opportunities. Business also increasingly sees itself as a key global activist and is calling on governments to increase political will to address world risks. These findings and more are revealed in the 2016 Global Opportunity Report, released today by DNV GL, the United Nations Global Compact and Monday Morning Global Institute.

Five global risks turned into 15 opportunities. That is the essence of the Global Opportunity Report, which stems from a survey of 5,567 business, governmental and social leaders across five continents. The key findings include:

•    42% of the leaders consulted rate youth unemployment as today’s most pressing global risk.
•    Corporate leaders see greatest business potential in getting youth in to work.
•    Business leaders have faith in the technology and the economy to address societal risks, but want politicians to do more.
•    Leaders see potential for new business in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations last year. 

The Global Opportunity Report aims to inspire and encourage leaders to grasp the kinds of business opportunities that can help eliminate the world’s biggest risks. It complements the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report by showing the opportunity landscape beyond risks. This year, risks such as ‘loss of ocean biodiversity’, ‘accelerating transport emissions’, ‘resistance to life-saving medicine’, ‘youth unemployment’ and ‘global food crisis’ were transformed into 15 opportunities.

Who’s ready to act?
The report finds that business is a key activist, ready to join forces with civil society to tackle widespread change. It furthermore reveals that business leaders are calling on politicians to step up efforts to drive systemic change and are increasingly taking action themselves. CEO and founder of Monday Morning Global Institute Erik Rasmussen explains:

“We cannot solve the problems of today with the tools of yesterday. New opportunities are urgently needed to tackle complex issues such as youth unemployment in a world marked by jobless growth and the rise of robots”.

Where are the opportunities?
Leaders from both the public and private sector see ‘smart farming’ as the number one opportunity, followed by possibilities in the digital labour market. Both of the top two opportunities use digital technology as a force for good.
DNV GL Group President and CEO, Remi Eriksen, says the report highlights the key role of innovative technology in many of the opportunities.

“These are not future technologies – these are technologies already available to us, right now – but scaling is needed. A good example is one of this year’s opportunities, ‘Smart Ocean’. By the use of existing sensor technology and ocean traffic monitoring systems, we can observe the state of the world ocean to learn more about the marine ecosystems and utilise the opportunities it offers in a sustainable manner. With proper implementation and scaling this solution could have massive impact."

"Many of these opportunities cannot be fully realized by the scope and knowledge within one industry alone, so I strongly believe in cross-industry collaboration to combine expertise to develop future-fit solutions.”

In addition, business leaders – who make up 83% of respondents – see the greatest business potential in the opportunity concerning youth job creation.

A political wake-up call
All surveyed leaders see potential for new business in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by world leaders at the United Nations last year.
Lise Kingo, Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact notes:

“The new Sustainable Development Goals provide a clear and compelling direction for the future. For business, these new global goals are set to be a major driver of the markets of tomorrow and can unleash a wave of sustainable products, services and business innovations. All companies can play a role by doing business responsibly and finding opportunities for growth and innovation.”

The road to the report
In addition to the 5,567 leaders surveyed, over 200 experts from eight countries have shared insights and contributed to creating the Global Opportunity Report. The report identifies and ranks 15 sustainability opportunities according to public and private sector interest and potential impact on societies and business. With the new report, the partners aim to demonstrate how global sustainability challenges and risks can be seen as opportunities. The work provides an open innovation platform where stakeholders worldwide can explore and capture sustainability opportunities and solutions across risk domains and regions. Additionally, the report identifies more than 120 readily available solutions.

The Global Opportunity Report and the global survey will be conducted annually.
To follow the launch event in Oslo and to download the report, please visit


About the Global Opportunity Network:
The Global Opportunity Network and Report are the products of collaboration between DNV GL, the UN Global Compact and Monday Morning. As the partners behind this initiative, we share a vision of a safer and more sustainable world and wish to inspire collaboration and action towards making it a reality.

About the Partners
DNV GL: Driven by the purpose of safeguarding life, property and the environment, DNV GL enables organizations to advance the safety and sustainability of their business. Operating in more than 100 countries, our 15,000 professionals are dedicated to helping our customers in the maritime, oil & gas, energy and other industries to make the world safer, smarter and greener.

Monday Morning Global Institute is Scandinavia's leading think tank. For twenty-five years, the company has developed a wide range of activities and projects through cross-sector partnerships. A common denominator in our projects is the desire to build sustainable and resilient societies.

The United Nations Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and to take action in support of UN goals and issues embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals. The UN Global Compact is a leadership platform for the development, implementation and disclosure of responsible corporate practices. Launched in 2000, it is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world, with more than 8,000 companies and 4,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and more than 85 Local Networks.

The survey data featured in this report was conducted in collaboration with the research company YouGov. There are a total 5,567 completed Computer-Assisted Web Interviews (CAWI) with persons with management responsibility working in companies with a minimum of 100 employees. The survey was conducted between 6 and 21 October 2015.

For more information, to download the report or watch the launch, please visit

Download images of the project partners here.

Breaking it down:

Learn more about the main messages and findings in your region


Main Messages


Regional results overview


North America


South America








South East Asia & Australia


Other Asia


Sub-Saharan Africa