The following depicts some of the global sustainability issues faced today that impact governments, companies and individuals. Sustainability issues faced today can cause possible conflicts, particularly over natural resources and can cause cross-border tension. Many companies address these issues and others, via their Sustainability programmes.
Sea levels have consistently risen due to oceans warming and glaciers melting, both of which are linked to climate change. This could lead to increased coastal flooding and storm damage. Approximately 75% of greenhouse gases released as a result of human activities in the past 20 years are from burning fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum and natural gas, exacerbating the impact of climate change. Based on climate analysis, eleven of the twelve years from 1995 to 2006 were among the twelve warmest years of global surface temperatures on record since 18501. For 2008, the economic cost of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation was estimated to be between USD 2 and USD 4.5 trillion2.
Nearly 10% of global diseases and 6.3% of all deaths could be prevented just by improving water supply, sanitation, hygiene, and management of water resources6. By improving these conditions millions of child deaths from diarrhea, malaria, malnutrition, and drowning could be prevented each year. An estimated 33.4 million people in the world are living with HIV or AIDS7.
Extreme poverty is a daily reality for over 1 billion people, or one out of every six people on Earth. The hardcore poor earn less than US$1 per day and often suffer malnutrition, ill-health, and social powerlessness. The vast majority of those living in poverty in both the developing and industrialised world are women and children. While 1 billion people live on less than US$1 a day, another billion enjoys 80% of global wealth3. Even though enough food is produced worldwide to provide everyone with an adequate diet, 854 million people, or one in seven, go hungry3. This is because the hardcore poor do not have the resources to grow or purchase the food required.
Hardcore poverty among Malaysians have decreased from 1.9% in 1999 to 1.2% in 20044, and the Government is confident that there will be no more hardcore poor in the country by the end of the year5.
Energy production and use account for nearly 80% of air pollution. Annually, outdoor air pollution is responsible for two million premature deaths worldwide8.
1 Energy Information Administration, www.eia.doe.gov, accessed March 2010
2 The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, "Cost of Policy Inaction Report", 2008
3 Facing the Future, www.facingthefuture.org, accessed March 2010
4 Vulnerability of Climate Change and Hardcore Poverty in Malaysia, http://scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=jest.2011.112.117&org=11, accessed August 2010
5 Govt: No more hardcore poor, http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/8/24/nation/6905044&sec=nation, accessed August 2010
6 WHO, "Safer Water, Better Health", 2008
7 UNAIDS and WHO, "2009 AIDS Epidemic Update", 2009
8 WHO, "Air Quality and Health Factsheet", 2008