Resource Crunch: Why Many Things Cost Much More

By Tom Randall and Eric Roston - 2012-02-06T18:24:40Z

Photograph by Jim Doberman

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Peak Population--Driving the Race for Materials

Population growth and rising affluence are fueling the fastest and largest modernization binge in history.


The human population is set to grow to 9.3 billion people by 2050, from 7 billion today, according to United Nations estimates. Even more impressive, the middle class may nearly triple to 4.9 billion consumers in 2030. The UN estimates the total number of humans may peak at 10 billion by the end of this century.

The global business dilemma of our time is how companies can satisfy these new markets without falling prey to scarcity of strategic resources, as well as social or ecological strain. Sustainability strategies are fast emerging as executives' road map to this quickly changing world.

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