Global macro trends, from population increases and higher standards of living to resource shortages and climate change, rapidly alter the conditions for SCA’s business operations. By analyzing the external environment and trends, and maintaining close customer and consumer dialogs, SCA can leverage these drivers, thus enabling the creation of long-term sustainable growth.
Growing and aging population
The world’s population is growing and aging. The current global population is more than seven billion and the UN predicts that this figure will grow to nine billion by 2050. The average life expectancy is increasing and the world’s elderly population is expected to grow more than any other section of the population. This growing population is resulting in an increased demand for hygiene products and thus creating favorable growth opportunities for SCA. The greatest population increase is expected to occur in Asia, Latin America and Africa, which means that having a presence in these markets and offering adapted products will be strategically important. An aging population will put more pressure on the elderly care system and an increasing number of elderly people will require homecare. We are also becoming healthier and continuing to lead active lives at an older age. These factors are contributing to increased demand for customer and consumer-adapted incontinence solutions in both mature and emerging markets.
Higher standard of living
At the same time as the world’s population is growing, the level of poverty in the world is decreasing. An increasing number of people now earn more than USD 2 per day (the UN’s definition of poverty) or have moved into the middle class. Once people’s most basic needs for food and shelter are met, health and hygiene become top priorities. This creates favorable growth opportunities, and SCA is working to develop business models for consumers with limited resources.
Health and hygiene
Limited or no access to hygiene and sanitation is one of the greatest global challenges to be resolved. Good hygiene and knowledge about hygiene and hygiene products improve people’s health and quality of life. An attitude promoting better hygiene and health is a global trend. SCA continuously develops new hygiene solutions and educates young women about menstruation and puberty, as well as teaching children about the importance of good hand hygiene. For many women in developing countries, access to sanitary pads could mean the difference between going to school and work or being forced to stay home. Incontinence products enable elderly people to live more active and dignified lives.
A changing world
Globalization, urbanization, political decisions, the global economy, legislation and cultural dynamics all impact SCA. By trying to anticipate and assess structural changes in our external environment, we prepare for the future and ensure that we will be able to capitalize on the benefits and tackle the challenges that arise as a result of these changes. Economic power relationships are changing, and emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil are gaining increasingly important influence.
Changing customer/consumer behavior
Trends, technological developments and prevailing values cause customer and consumer behavior to change. Accordingly, the ability to anticipate and exceed customer and consumer expectations is becoming increasingly important.
- Sustainable consumption: Limited resources, political prioritizations and knowledgeable, aware customers and consumers are increasing demand for sustainable products and services.
- Digitization: Many purchases are now made online, which is changing the rules of the game, for example, when it comes to product development, marketing and distribution. Customers and consumers are showing greater demand for digital solutions.
- The company behind the brand: More than ever before, customers and consumers are paying attention to the companies behind the products and services they buy and imposing greater demands on these companies in terms of corporate responsibility.
- Innovation: Highly innovative products, services and business models are required to respond to these changing behaviors.
As a result of the growing global economy and world population, an increasing number of people are now sharing the planet’s natural resources.
- Energy: Access to energy is a key issue. The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that the need for energy will increase by one-third by 2040, which will probably entail higher costs and, in some cases, an energy shortage. As a major energy consumer, this is an important issue for SCA and we continuously work to enhance our energy efficiency. New technology is not only resource-efficient, but usually also generates fewer emissions. SCA is also driving development in the area of renewable energy, including wind power and biofuel.
- Water: The UN predicts that two-thirds of the world’s population may live in areas with water shortages by 2025. Access to water is critical for people, industry and agriculture. SCA’s production operations are dependent on access to water and we are working to achieve our ambitious goals for efficient water usage.
- Forest management: Illegal felling and felling of forests with a high conservation value contributes to global deforestation and constitutes a threat to biodiversity. SCA has a Group target for checking the origin of all wood raw material. Forests are a key component in our value chain and provide us with access to forest raw materials.
- Human capital: The economic progress of the world’s emerging markets and increasingly knowledge-intensive business in mature markets are resulting in a growing need for skilled labor and management. At SCA, we invest in the development and training of our employees and take a strategic approach to meeting our future requirements for competent leaders.
Climate change is one of the most critical environmental and social issues facing the world today. Authorities are setting targets to reduce CO2 emissions, and the private sector is expected to play its part. SCA combats climate change by investing in new technology, efficiency enhancements, and biofuel and wind power initiatives. Our forests have an annual net growth of 1%. This means that our forests absorb 2.6 million tons of carbon dioxide each year, which exceeds the emissions generated through the total use of fossil fuels in SCA’s production operations.