The push for continuous and strong GDP growth is often at odds with the need to reduce consumption of resources and avoid major climate changes. Can technology help policymakers find a way through conflicting objectives?


Policies and regulations shaped over the next decade, and the effectiveness of their implementation, may determine the well-being of our planet centuries from now.

Our planet is being put under pressure on many fronts, challenging its capacity to provide for sustainable economic and social development simultaneously.

In the coming decade, governments will rely more heavily on technology innovation to reach their policy objectives within economic and social constraints, and to resolve partly conflicting policy objectives. Such contrasting challenges are fertile ground for innovative and balanced solutions.

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In many cities, traffic congestion is choking economic productivity and, quite literally, the citizenry through associated air pollution. The race is on for measures to optimize the use of current infrastructure, such as peak-hour differentiated road tolls and park-and-ride infrastructure, and tax incentives to stimulate the use of home office solutions.


All transport sectors will be affected by the advent of autonomous vehicles and intelligent transport systems assisting the operation of a vehicle, ship or aircraft. New regulations, most critically at local and then regional level, will need to be developed in lock step with these developments to ensure compliance with applicable safety standards.

We can expect innovations related to alternative fuel infrastructures, emission catalysts, lightweight materials, and stud-free winter tyres.


The food supply chain will be subject to much greater scrutiny in the coming decades. Food security issues and increased customer expectations concerning food safety, tracing and food content will influence how all parts of the supply chain develop. New regulations will catalyze new technology. DNA tracking and organic sensors, for instance, will offer new solutions for monitoring quality and composition of nutritional content throughout the food supply chain.


Reduced road traffic pollution will primarily be driven by electrification of the vehicle fleet and improved fuel efficiency / reduced emission intensity. Other measures include fuel switch incentives, incremental taxation of vehicles based on engine power and car weight, and redirection of traffic away from densely populated areas. Expect innovations related to, for example, alternative fuel infrastructure, emission catalysts, lightweight materials, and stud-free winter tyres.

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Transport accounts for roughly a quarter of total global CO2 emissions. Emission reductions will primarily be achieved by modal shifts in short distance urban travel, improved fuel efficiency, and less carbon intensive power trains. While shifts in mode of urban transport and improved fuel efficiency may materialize with minimal policy push, increased deployment of alternative power trains will require tailored policy measures.

DNA tracking and organic sensors will offer new solutions for monitoring quality and composition of nutritional content throughout the food supply chain


Energy security is effective management of primary energy supply, plus reliability of energy infrastructure, plus the ability to meet current and future demand. New energy security challenges will arise from the upscaling of renewables, downscaling of coal, and more distributed power generation. This will encourage energy companies to diversify their portfolio, and spur technology developments within energy supply forecasting and management, and power grid operation.

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The universal quest for more sustainable healthcare systems will necessitate broad reforms and/or targeted regulations from governments, designed to cut costs and improve the quality of their health care systems. Policies will promote services based on the experience of the patient to facilitate co-creation of care. New payment models will be critical for success and are likely to include pay-for-performance and population based payments.


A key objective of national energy policy is to provide universal and affordable energy for a country’s population. While most industrialized countries provide nearly universal access to electricity, many developing countries have much lower coverage. Although solar PV will allow populations in developing countries to gain interim access to electricity with minimal policy support, the provision of grid connection and stable uninterrupted supply will require tailored policy mechanisms.

New energy security challenges will arise from the upscaling of renewables, downscaling of coal, and more distributed power generation

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In order to limit pharmaceutical spending growth, legislators will introduce regulations that attempt to stamp out anti-competitive practices and promote the use of generics. At the same time, the industry will respond by riding the personalized medicine wave, moving from mass-market sale to a target-market approach. Requirements and methodologies for post-market surveillance will evolve to meet stakeholder requirements for safe and effective products.


Environmental sustainability requires supply and demand-side energy efficiencies and the development of energy supply from renewable and other low-carbon sources. Although energy efficiency investments often have short return-on-investment timeframes, widespread implementation of energy efficiency measured will require a strong policy push and tailored regulations, such as renewable portfolio standards and emission performance standards.


Global population growth has placed our oceans under severe pressure. The seafood sector urgently needs an enabling policy and regulatory framework combining environmental, economic and social sustainability. This will include food security, responsible exploitation of marine resources, reduction of environmental impacts on marine and land-based ecosystems, protection of biodiversity and eradication of forced labour.

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