The Dangerous Trend Of Scarce Resources and Global Competition, and How it Could Negatively Affect Your Business

The Dangerous Trend of Scarce Resources and Global Competition
This entry is part 7 of 11 in the series Trend Alignment in Your Business

You may not even know it, but trends are happening all around you. The biggest and most important ones happen on such a global scale that they impact supply chains, natural resources, and the political relationships between countries.

In this post, we’re looking at another of the European Environment Agency’s global megatrends outlined in their outlook report. For more information about megatrends, be sure to check out our earlier posts. [link to #1]

This post is all about how the competition for resources is on the rise and what that means for how we allocate our commodities. We’ll also consider some opportunities for innovation that arise from increased competition.

What’s happening to the world’s resources?

There are a few different factors affecting how the world is using its resources.

For one, the world population is growing, which creates more demand to feed, house, and entertain the people on Earth. Research suggests that the world is using ten times the amount of resources today as we did in 1900. It’s expected to double again by the year 2030.

To complicate things, resources aren’t distributed evenly around the globe. Some countries that experience high levels of population growth may not have the resource availability to meet their increasing requirements.

Or, as scarcity causes massive price fluctuations on important commodities like oil and food, some import-dependent regions (like Europe) are faced with the often forgotten downsides of existing in a global marketplace.

Resource use around the world

You might be surprised to find out that resource utilisation in developed countries has actually stayed relatively stable in the last five decades. For example, people living in the EU consumed roughly the same amount of energy as they did in the late-1970s.

In that same time, economic output per person has more than doubled. That means that energy efficiency has gotten better.

If you’ve been waiting for a downside, here it is. It becomes troubling when you compare the different rates of energy usage around the world.

If, for instance, developing countries were to adopt similar production and consumption behaviour as developed regions, there could be a huge impact on global resource demand.

If every country in the world experienced an increase to average energy usage comparable to EU levels, then we’d see a 75 percent increase in energy consumption globally.

Other regions are more notorious in their energy consumption. Bringing global energy usage compared to the United States, for instance, would imply a 270 percent global increase.

With the developing world set to grow rapidly in the coming decades both economically and in population size, those figures are troubling. The Sustainable Europe Research Institute (SERI) predicts the world will use twice as many resources in 2030 as it did in 2010.

Accessibility of resources

To make matters worse, some political decisions exacerbate resource accessibility. Some nations are particularly protectionist when it comes to their resources. That can be problematic for a global population that relies on important resources like crude oil. If oil stocks become restricted as politically unstable regions of the world lock them away, there could be price jumps and other shockwaves that could damage many industries and markets.

Alternative resource streams

If the world doesn’t want to be fighting over resources in the decades to come, then we need to develop some creative ways to meet our resource needs.

One good indicator that demonstrates that we are on track to experience a change in mindset is that investment levels in renewable energy grew by more than five times between 2004 and 2013.

Developing alternative resource streams is one of the leading ways that we can meet the growing intensity of the world’s resource demand.

Innovation and advancements in technology can also serve to expand our current access to resources we already know and love. New extraction methods like deepwater drilling for oil or extracting oil and gas from shale deposits are both examples of methods that were impossible just a half-century ago.

Consequences of resource competition

If the world continues on its current path, the growing competition for resources could have some unfortunate side effects:

  • Resource prices may jump around more often. Spikes in resource prices can carry huge risks for import-dependent regions such as the EU.
  • Economic development may be unfairly distributed around the world.
  • Conflicts over existing resource stocks may become more common.
  • The environment will suffer from the extraction, usage and disposal of resources.

Opportunities of resource competition

While the consequences are severe, global competition for resources can also open up new opportunities:

  • We may witness a continued trend toward investment and innovation in greener technologies and renewable resources.
  • Faced with the facts, new investments may lead to innovations that help us access previously inaccessible resources.
  • Innovations may reduce waste from consumption activities or improve recycling techniques.
  • We may be encouraged to better utilise non-depletable resources like wind and solar energy.

It’s important to remember that the global competition for resources isn’t a problem that will go away. Likely, it’ll only get more severe in the coming decades. Acting now to secure a future for ourselves will involve cooperation between industries and governments.

In almost all cases, a push toward new funding and investments in technologies can be the catalyst for innovative new ways to help reduce the downsides of global resource competition.

If you enjoyed this post about the effects of global competition, be sure to stick around for the next article in our series about global megatrends. Next up, we’ll look at the fragility of global ecosystems.

Series Navigation<< 6 Main Reasons That World Superpowers Are Changing Through The Political and Economic Dominance of the Global ArenaThe Pressured Global Ecosystems And The Innovations That We Could Use To Protect Them >>
Subscribe
Notify of
18 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

[…] The Dangerous Trend Of Scarce Resources and Global Competition, and How it Could Negatively Affect Y… […]

This is why environmental awareness is vital due to the finite resources. That being said this is where idea generation comes into the mix. We all wanna be on top we all wanna win because the world as it is can be said or look at as one big competition.

Scarcity of resources brings about untold hardship and inflation to an economy. There should be ways by which one can create ideas that can tackle an issue like this as it rear its heads.

I think many people think sometimes ¿why is innovation so difficult?. The competition, the creation of ideas, the markets, and the availability of the resources just to mention some of them, make things look very discouraging, fortunately, Innovolo can bring the right advice to that people to help them reach their innovation goals

New product development in the UK and all over the world aim at solving such issues. It means we need to keep up with the trending “competition”.

Finding a good problem solution to global competition will be healthy for business concern. People needs to study it and devise better means of dealing with it.

Problem solution if properly looked into, will help reduce the rate of scarce items. This post has said it all for our good. Thanks so much for this post.

Depleting resources has a direct impact on innovation. The world needs to be more prudent with its resources.

If the trends continue soon we won’t see any new product development. This would of course be due to lack of resources.

The fact that resources are not evenly distributed across the world can explain why product design varies from country to country. The article is very eye opening.

I think the problem solution to diminishing resources is to embrace renewable energy. It could be our only hope.

Physical product development has taken a massive hit in recent times. This is attributable to the ever reducing resources.

Now more than ever we need idea generation to save our world. I hope we all step up and do something!

In such turbulent economic times, the ability of a business to create ideas can go a long way. The ideas in question should try and deal with the issue of finite resources.

New product ideas should be aimed at using less resources. There’s only so much resources to go around!

Diminishing resources has negatively impacted idea commercialisation. Many innovators have great ideas but are constrained by resources.

This article perfectly answers the question as to why is innovation so difficult. The resources are always limited.

It’s not a stretch to say that New product development in the UK may see a decline as available resources decline. We face a very uncertain future ahead.

18
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x