Our top trends reflect the work we do scanning the political and business landscape for our clients.
1. Business + biodiverity takes off
A raft of international business and biodiversity commitments were made in 2014. Helping to halt the decline of our natural environment is becoming a mainstream part of doing business. And it takes many forms.
In Australia in 2015 we’ll see progress in getting the settings right for private investment in conservation and more resilient landscapes. Reviews of state biodiversity regulations should create new opportunities for private finance in biodiversity markets. And we should see more research on the value of services provided by nature (natural capital) in vulnerable sectors such as diary and water.
2. Action on clmate change
2014 saw global commitments to more decisive action on climate change by governments and communities. Green bonds took off as investors saw a profit from a low carbon economy. As we enter 2015 there’s reason for optimism that the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December will agree a lasting framework.
Meanwhile the Australian the government is due to hold the first auction under its Emissions Reduction Fund by March. And they’ll be working out the details of the all important safeguard mechanism as the year progresses.
3. Our marine environment a battle ground
Sadly the poor condition of the Great Barrier Reef will continue to be in the headlines in 2015. The UN is due to consider (yet again) whether to declare the World Heritage listed Reef as ‘in danger’ in June.
In 2015 we’ll see the Australian government review the system of Commonwealth Marine Reserves created two years ago after years of consultations. And the government is due to decide whether to allow supertrawlers in southern Australian waters. The report of an expert panel concluded fish stocks in the small pelagic fishery are unlikely to be affected. But they recommended a list of actions to avoid impacts on protected species, especially dolphins and seals.
4. What to do about water
Severe drought persisted in much of the country during 2014 reducing production of grains and livestock and creating stressful conditions for farmers. Smart businesses in the resources and industrial sectors are investing in infrastructure to provide recycled water in the future.
In urban areas government policies on ‘city as a catchment’ will take a low profile while the dams in most capital cities remain full. But in regional cities the need for a secure water supply will continue to drive investment in water sensitive infrastructure. And local government will continue to respond to community demand for greener urban streetscapes, water wise buildings and healthier waterways.
5. Recognise Indigenous Australians
The campaign for a referendum on constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians gained widespread support with a quater of a million people pledging their support for Recognise by the end of 2014. Celebrities and political leaders were busting to get in the frame.
As the campaign becomes more popular during 2015 we’ll see more Indigenous culture and campaigns to address racism in sport. We should be talking more about the place of Indigenous people in Australia’s history, and better understand the legacy it left for current generations.
6. Medicare co-payments - its not over
For most of 2014 the government fought to introduce a co-payment for all patients when they see a doctor. As 2015 opens they've jettisoned two proposals, proceeded with a partial copayment on GP services and their relationship with medical groups is in tatters. Yet they’re determined to pursue a copayment on all doctors' services during 2015. So it will be another year of ignoring more effective measures to address rising medical costs and increase revenue.
Watch out for changes to the regulation of private health insurers and pharmacies in the recommendations of the Competition Review, due to report in March. And we're hoping for some improvements in co-ordinated care through the new Public Health Networks which start on 1 July.
7. Disruptive business models
We saw further growth in social enterprises, community co-operatives and new ways of doing business in 2014. Call them disruptive, innovative or simply responsive to community and consumer demand. In 2014 I enjoyed helping Good Cycles get started, contributing to events by Sustainable Table and watching my friends at Eaterprises get going to connect consumers directly to farmers.
In 2015 expect to see growth in renewable energy cooperatives. These community based businesses are popular in the UK and USA but uncommon in Australia, until now. In NSW a government funding program in 2014 saw the number of renewable energy co-operatives take off. The newly elected Victorian Government can expect a call from fledgling co-ops in that state.
Want to know more on any of these topics? Call Amanda on 0432 134 936 or email firstname.lastname@example.org