Sustainia100: 3 Green Trends Expanding Business Opportunities


(Oslo, 16 June 2014) - An ethical smartphone, air cleaning carpets and carbon-negative plastic. Today, Scandinavian think tank SUSTAINIA, released a study on 100 leading sustainability innovations deployed in global markets.

The study, SUSTAINIA100, documents the growing diversity in sustainability innovations globally, which is providing businesses with new market opportunities. More than 900 technologies and projects on nearly all continents have been researched to identify where and how innovations are being developed, deployed and put to scale.

“Innovation in the sustainability industry is truly broadening out these years. We are seeing how corporations are rapidly innovating and deploying new energy and resource-optimizing solutions. Especially water efficiency measures are a current focus in the private sector,” says Laura Storm, Director of Sustainia.  

“Demand for responsible and sustainable business practices is growing across industries. Sustainia100 documents how companies are seizing on this opportunity by innovating new products and services, helping to expand the corporate sustainability movement,” says Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact.

SUSTAINIA100 covers new efforts to make the fashion and food industries, homes, offices and transportation systems more efficient, sustainable and enjoyable. All identified innovations are readily available with demonstrated sustainability environmental, social and economic effects. The 100 selections are currently deployed in 142 countries.

Circular economy, big data and improved supply chains
The published SUSTAINIA100 cases presents’ state-of-the-art innovation across 10 industries. Among the cases, three drivers are shaping market-ready innovation: circular economy products, data analytics and sustainability practices throughout the supply chain.

“We are seeing how especially circular economy is a growing focus area. This is especially due to the resource and fashion industry rethinking methods and calling for sustainable alternatives in production and services. This is a huge incentive for sustainable innovators,” says Laura Storm, director of SUSTAINIA.

The study of 100 leading sustainability innovations is released today in Oslo, Norway, and available online. Behind the work is an alliance of private companies and international organizations including: UN Global Compact, WWF, Regions20, Monday Morning Global Institute, IFHP, Novo Nordisk, Storebrand, DNV GL, Realdania and Brunata.



Sustainia100 documents new products, services and systems designed for reuse, recycling, upcycling or even biodegradation in order to minimize waste. One example is Italian company Bio-on that is replacing petroleum-based plastics with 100 percent biodegradable plastic made from agricultural waste. A circular economy also requires effective return systems. Dutch company Mud Jeans has made a business out of leasing jeans, giving customers the option of keeping, swapping or returning them after use for recycling.


A solid trend among the cases is innovation to providing data analytics' resource saving performance. Numerous big data solutions are improving the performance of utilities, homes and office buildings as well as traffic flows and water pressure to reduce energy and resource consumption. In Sweden, a public private collaboration has resulted in the IT system Cato that makes use of advanced algorithms to operate railway traffic as energy efficient as possible.


Issues with workers’ rights and pollution have been an issue especially in the fashion industry. Innovations are providing the materials, methods and technologies necessary to set new standards throughout supply chains. This involves the use of mobile technology to monitor working conditions and environmental management, or methods for increasing traceability and ecologically friendly techniques. In collaboration with suppliers, American denim company Levi’s has created a water recycling system saving millions of liters by reducing the amount of fresh water used in the finishing process.

SUSTAINIA100 is an annual guide to 100 innovative sustainability solutions from around the world. The guide identifies readily available projects, initiatives and technologies at the forefront of sustainable innovation. This year, Sustainia’s research team and advisory board screened a pool of +900 nominated solutions from which the final 100 solutions were selected. SUSTAINIA100 gives investors, business leaders, policy makers and consumers insights into promising solutions within their respective fields. These vetted projects and technologies span from Western innovation hubs to emerging economies. The 2014 SUSTAINIA100 guide, released on June 16 in Oslo, is the third edition.

Media Contacts 

Marie Louise Gorvild
Communications Manager

Kristen Coco
Public Affairs and Media Relations
UN Global Compact