Sustainability 'will be mainstream by 2020'

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The Independent Online

Sainsbury's and Unilever have backed a major new report published today which predicts that sustainable products and services will be mainstream by 2020. The report – produced by non-profit organisation Forum for the Future – says household brands and retailers will make green living normal by the end of the decade for the sake of their profits.

Dr Sally Uren, the deputy chief executive of Forum for the Future, said: "Smart brands and businesses will make money today by accelerating the transition to a sustainable future." She said progress towards sustainable consumption will not be knocked off course by the weak global economy.

The organisation considered four scenarios to explore how global trends may change the world. In each, social and environmental pressures drive sustainable goods and services into the mainstream, whether or not consumers actively demand them and regardless of whether the global economy is thriving or subdued. Sainsbury's chief executive, Justin King, said: "Sustainability will rise higher up the agenda over the coming years. Being sustainable is not about box ticking, it's about future-proofing your business."

Amanda Sourry, chairman of Unilever UK & Ireland, said: "The old model of ever greater consumption, with growth at any price, is broken. Companies that succeed in the future will be those that reduce their environmental impact while increasing their social and economic impacts."