About the platform

Rooted in over five years of research involving 18,000 business leaders and 17 expert panels, the Explorer guides you through hundreds of sustainable solutions and market opportunities which address the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).

The Global Opportunity Explorer is a joint project of Sustainia, DNV GL and the UN Global Compact, created on the conviction that the SDGs offer a myriad of business opportunities with great value to companies, society and the environment. Aside from mapping a world of cutting-edge innovation and new markets, the Explorer aims to help business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors connect with new partners, projects and markets to foster more partnerships for the SDGs and a greener and fairer world by 2030.

The Global Opportunity Explorer also showcases 300 of the most innovative urban climate solutions from cities around the world. The solutions are included in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 editions of the Cities100 reports – a collaboration between C40, Realdania and Sustainia.

Cities100 shows how cities are using climate action to future-proof against challenges such as extreme weather, air pollution and growing populations in areas including transportation, waste, energy, mitigation and adaptation.

We are constantly on the lookout for more outstanding sustainable solutions. Submit a solution now

We would love to get in touch with you and your organization. To learn more about how we can collaborate, please contact sustainia@sustainia.me.

Founding partners

Sustainia is a sustainability advisory group and digital studio working to accelerate action towards a sustainable future. We work with organizations and individuals who are changing the world for the better, helping them integrate sustainability into their core by developing cutting-edge strategies, building engaging digital solutions, and amplifying their messages with impact.

DNV-GL is driven by the purpose of safeguarding life, property and the environment and enables organisations to advance the safety and sustainability of their business. Operating in more than 100 countries, our 13,500 professionals are dedicated to helping our customers in the maritime, oil & gas, energy and other industries to make the world safer, smarter and greener.

The United Nations Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and to take action in support of UN goals and issues embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals.


Cities100 partners

C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group connects more than 90 of the world’s greatest cities, representing 650+ million people and one quarter of the global economy. Created and led by cities, C40 is focused on tackling climate change and driving urban action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, while increasing the health, wellbeing and economic opportunities of urban citizens.

Realdania is a Danish, modern philanthropic association that works to create quality of life and benefit the common good by improving the built environment: cities, buildings, and the built heritage. Realdania is both a Strategic Funder of C40 and a Founding Partner of Sustainia.

Sustainia is an international sustainability think tank and consultancy working to accelerate action towards a sustainable future. In order to realize this, we partner with companies, cities, and organizations to map their position, navigate new markets, and communicate with impact.



Grundfos develops water solutions for the world. Innovation is their brand. Sustainability is their heart. And excellence is at the top of their minds. They are a global company with a drive to develop solutions for the world’s water challenges. They play an active part in our surrounding world.


Storebrand is a leading player in the Nordic market for long-term savings and insurance. At this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Storebrand was rated the world’s second most sustainable company. As Norway’s largest pension provider, Storebrand has one mission: To create long-term good returns for their customers. Knowing that as much as two-thirds of the pension their customers get is comprised of accumulated returns, they recognize how important it is to have a future-oriented and sustainable investment strategy.

It requires an extraordinary effort to reach the goals for future generations. We believe sustainable investments pay off because well run companies with solutions for the future are good investments. We offer sustainable investment solutions and competence to enlighten our clients and get them enthusiastic about making an impact, while making money.

Jan Erik Saugestad, CEO
Storebrand Asset Management


SpareBank 1 is an Alliance of independent banks all over the country, and is Norway’s second largest finance group in terms of assets. SpareBank 1 has traditionally taken on its corporate responsibility in local communities where it operates by partnering with local businesses, serving inhabitants with services and counselling, and sponsoring local initiatives.

“In a world where major changes are needed, SpareBank 1 is increasingly focusing on sustainability in all aspects of its operations. This implies including sustainability in our daily decision-making; from product development and investments to damage prevention and privacy, in addition to reducing our overall environmental footprint. Two core activities are loans for environmental purposes at 0 percent interest rate and the development of Smart Insurance schemes. By using new technologies, analyzing data and interacting with customers, SpareBank 1 is exploring the role as an enabler for safe behavior and sustainable lifestyles.”

Turid Grotmoll, CEO
SpareBank 1 Group

Logo SpareBank 1-1

Innovation Norway is the Norwegian Government’s most important instrument for innovation and development of Norwegian enterprises and industry. Innovation Norway support companies in developing their competitive advantage and to enhance innovation. Innovation Norway creates value by stimulating to profitable business development throughout Norway. Their programmes and services are intended to create more successful entrepreneurs, more enterprises with capacity for growth and more innovative business clusters.


Nordic Impact is a company that invests in startups based around technology with a mission to have a positive impact on society. Nordic impact was started to gather the initiatives of Tharald Nustad around impact investments and social entrepreneurship. The main activity is investing in early stage impact tech startups, and we also support projects that further impact investing and social entrepreneurship. Nordic Impact is on a mission to make the world a better place though technology, business and other means. They support initiatives by other and also initiates new projects that we believe will further that goal.


Sustainia founding partner

As a Founding Partner of Sustainia, Realdania has helped to fund Sustainia’s previous work on researching, evaluating and publishing the hundreds of solutions that are now featured on the Global Opportunity Explorer. Realdania is a Danish, modern philanthropic association that works to create quality of life and benefit the common good by improving the built environment: cities, buildings, and the built heritage.


The sustainable development goals (SDGs)

The United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are at the very centre of all the solutions, markets and insights on the Global Opportunity Explorer. We believe that business plays a significant role in making the world more sustainable by 2030, and our main focus is to make more companies and organizations around the world recognize the potential of using the SDGs as a strategic tool to create value for business, society and the environment. Read more about the SDGs.


Solutions evaluation criteria

An external advisory board of sector experts from more than 20 global organizations (WWF, Yale University and Ellen MacArthur Foundation among other institutions) have assessed the solutions on this platform using five evaluation criteria:

Readily available: Candidates must be more than just vague ideas or blueprints. Candidates must be concrete projects that are making an impact in societies and markets. We do include candidates that are only prototypes if they have strong commitments from investors or partners that suggest further development.

Positive environmental impact: Candidates represent an improvement from the status quo in terms of having a positive impact on global climate or local environmental conditions. The best candidates incorporate cutting-edge technologies or methods that challenge present standards and business as usual mindsets.

Financially viable: Candidates must show that the cost of their project is justified in light of its promised benefits. Candidates are not discredited for relying on subsidized or highly philanthropic business models, but affordability, financial sustainability, and innovative business models are key qualities.

Improve quality of life: Candidates are assessed on their ability to deliver a better and more sustainable life for the people impacted by the solution. Candidates should bring about real change by enhancing well-being for individuals and for communities by addressing social needs across societies.

Scalable: Candidates should be able to scale up activities. This ensures that candidates can have a wider and lasting impact beyond their present location and circumstances. Scalable solutions are replicable in wider contexts and are characterized by being backed by strong partners or having sound business models.

Market methodology

The markets presented on this platform are derived from the 2015, 2016 & 2017 versions of the Global Opportunity Report developed by Sustainia, DNV GL and UN Global Compact.

The markets have been identified through a three-stage process:
Identify challenges: The starting point of the analysis is to select a set of global risks, and throughout the three reports 45 risks have been addressed. We do not claim these risks are the only or necessarily the most prominent challenges facing the world today, but certainly all are of great importance.

Co-Create Market Opportunities: Through 17 innovation labs facilitated across the globe, participants from business, academia, NGOs, the public sector and youth representatives have collaborated to develop innovative market ideas to overcome global challenges. In addition, we have conducted digital crowd-sourcing campaigns where everyone have had the opportunity to submit their best ideas for tackling the selected global challenges. This material formed the basis for identifying the 45 market opportunities presented in the three Global Opportunity Reports.

Survey the Market Opportunities: The attractiveness of the 45 market opportunities has been measured in annual surveys involving 5,500 private and public sector leaders from across the globe. The surveys presented on this platform have all been conducted in collaboration with the research company YouGov in the autumns of 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Learn more about the methodology.

Request for more information

In early 2017, Sustainia reached out to all companies and organizations previously featured in the Sustainia100 publications with a request to provide updated information about their solution for the Global Opportunity Explorer. The request included an invitation to submit company data and information on the specific solution’s ability to address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Concurrently, UN Global Compact has reached out to selected member companies, inviting them to submit a solution for the Global Opportunity Explorer, initially resulting in around 25 UN Global Compact-sourced solutions being featured on the platform.

Consequently, Sustainia has reviewed the updated information from solutions previously featured in Sustainia100 publications as well as information provided by the UN Global Compact-sourced solutions. This includes assessing credibility, quality and editing the material accordingly. To ensure consistency across the solution descriptions Sustainia’s editorial team has selected the SDGs that the different solutions were perceived to meaningfully address based on information submitted by the companies and organizations. For companies and organizations that have not replied to the call for updated information, Sustainia has updated the solutions based on the best available information.


The information featured on the Global Opportunity Explorer is correct to the best of our knowledge and based on extensive research as well as information provided by organizations and companies behind the solutions.

Sustainia, DNV GL or UN Global Compact, cannot guarantee that the information featured on the website is accurate, exhaustive or up to date and shall not be held liable for any errors, omissions, unavailability of information or failure to update information.

The inclusion of company names and/or examples available on this platform does not constitute an endorsement of the individual companies by the UN Global Compact, Sustainia or DNV GL.