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What 300 stakeholders think are the ten most critical issues for 2015

Guest post by Tara Holmes, communications manager, Future 500

Each year, Future 500 releases a report of what we predict will be the Top 10 most critical issues driving stakeholder engagement in the coming year.

The report is a breakdown and summary of these issues based on our own internal research as well as feedback from approximately 300 stakeholders within our network, including funders, activists, companies, and policy makers.

Tara Holmes, Future 500

As in previous year’s, this year’s report echoes existing and developing shifts in the marketplace and highlights noteworthy and influencing trends in the private sector, in politics, and on the ground, that are driving change.

The report also consists of recommendations for engagement based upon our on-going stakeholder research and outreach.

While some of this year’s issues remain a constant on our annual list – human rights, fossil fuels, and utilities, for example – this year, we’re noticing a marked shift towards the sharing economy, a growing economy that’s putting power and access back into the local community.

The popular apartment sharing service, Airbnb, for example, is worth $10 billion alone.

We’re also witnessing a growing trend calling for brands to “take a stand” on social and environmental issues through precompetitive collaboration. This movement is shifting towards a new norm of regulatory action—not regulation by law, but regulation by retailers.

In addition, this year we’ve seen significant and monumental movement in the push for zero-deforestation across the supply chain.

In the wake of zero-deforestation commitments made by Asia Pulp & Paper, Wilmar, and Golden Agri Resources, brand after brand and suppliers like Cargill, have adopted policies to rid their supply chains of deforestation and are becoming a model for others to follow.

Marine debris and ocean acidification also made our list this year as our oceans continue to be a battleground for energy production, food production and waste.

The atmospheric rise in C02 caused by climate change also threatens our global seas and the issue therefore continues to gain increased attention and funding across both industry and activist groups.

Future 500’s Top 10 Stakeholder Issues Report connects a wide range of stakeholders from across a myriad of backgrounds and sectors to highlight pressing sustainability challenges in the year ahead.

As we move into 2015, we anticipate these issues will develop even further across sectors and amongst stakeholders.

To get a more detailed breakdown, and to read the full Top 10 Report, please click here.

Here’s a two minute video about the report.