The Threats identified in the sSWOT are a good place to start looking for new Opportunities. The scale of today’s environmental challenges requires innovation and collective action by multiple parties across the value chain and beyond. Addressing Threats will involve multiple stakeholders and industries. To identify Opportunities, ask:

Where is there a growing gap where we and others can create new solutions for environmental challenges?

Look for those threats where current and best practices are not sufficient to meet the scale and pace of the problem. For example, comparing projected GHG emissions to the reductions science suggests are necessary in the coming years shows an urgent and immediate need for business innovation to reduce GHGs.

Consider the business value to create with others by reducing costs (for your company or for customers or suppliers) or creating new revenue with innovative products, services, or new business models.

Consider new possibilities that did not exist ten years ago. For example, more than 5.5 billion people now use cell phones. Growth in mobile communications is one indication of how the world has changed. These are the types of changes that create new opportunities for innovative business models, products, or services to address environmental challenges. Think about new (or newly affordable) technologies that can transform an industry.



Ecofrotas is a fleet management services company in Brazil, with a portfolio of fleets that amount to nearly half a million vehicles. They recognized a growing opportunity to help their customers switch from gasoline to alternative fuels, like ethanol, particularly as policies emerge in Brazil seeking to reduce GHG emissions from the transportation sector. They identified opportunities to work together with customers who share their interest in reducing GHG emissions. This included close relationships with loyal customers, a userfriendly system for paying at the pump with an Ecofrotas branded corporate card, and an approved Voluntary Carbon Standard methodology for producing carbon reduction credits. Using the data they have on customers’ purchases of ethanol, they can demonstrate GHG reductions from the fuel switch, and monetize the carbon reductions to incentivize customers to buy more ethanol—if they can find the right partner(s) to purchase the carbon credits.

Consider new possibilities that did not exist ten years ago. These are the types of changes that create innovative business models, products or services to address environmental change.




Staples used the sSWOT to frame a workshop with several of its large corporate customers. The company invited several major brand companies to share insights about the big trends shaping their sustainability strategies in the coming years. Staples and its customers shared many of the same objectives, including reducing energy use or adopting clean energy technologies. They identified opportunities to work closer together to share experiences—for example, from Staples’ efforts to power its headquarters with 100 percent onsite renewable energy—and develop strategies that would reduce GHG emissions and fuel costs related to the delivery of Staples office products.

Identify opportunities to work closer with other like-minded companies and develop strategies to reduce GHG emissions and fuel costs.