GEMI Launches New Project to Look Ten Years Ahead at External Future Forces That Will Disrupt the Business of Sustainability

What four or five external future forces are most likely to ‘disrupt’ the business of sustainability for companies, the industry, and society at large—thinking ten years ahead? 

In 2007, Institute for the Future created a 10-year custom forecast for GEMI focused on external future forces likely to disrupt sustainability. The forecast was quite accurate and it gave GEMI project members unusual foresight that contributed to their business strategy.

Now, GEMI and IFTF are partnering again to look another ten years ahead at a very different future in a very different world. In this world, it is too late to have just a sustainability strategy. Now, companies must have a strategy that melds sustainability and business.

Project Objective

Through this project, GEMI and IFTF have committed to work together to develop a new custom forecast that will point a ten-year lens on external future forces—including both threats and opportunities—that will disrupt sustainability, with a focus on business choices and business strategy.

GEMI’s goal for the project is to use foresight to awaken, engage, and drive change in the present. Urgent future disruptions are looming and this project will provide the grounding to engage with and win through the most important external future forces.

This project will focus on this research question: Over the next ten years, what four or five external future forces are most likely to disrupt the business of sustainability for companies, the industry, and society at large?

We will focus in particular on the links to digital transformation and the impacts on the business of sustainability. This new forecast will help leaders glimpse and understand the future disruptions in the environment within which they will be required to win. It will help companies heighten their game, and it will give a rigorous, provocative futures perspective to inform business strategy.

Project Participants

Current GEMI members and project participants committed to participate in this project include: American Forest & Paper Association, Carnival Corp & plc, CBRE, ConocoPhillips, Dell, The Dow Chemical Company, ExxonMobil Chemical, FedEx Corp, Gannett Fleming, Ingersoll Rand, Lockheed Martin, SABIC, Schlumberger, Sealed Air, Smithfield Foods and Waste Management.

Project Deliverable

IFTF will work with GEMI to develop a new custom forecast map for project partners in pdf form to allow partners to focus strategic conversations on the four or five most important external future forces. The 2007 map was a very accurate forecast, but as the speed of business has increased, maps like this are just too busy to engage many top executives. This map will be just as content rich, but more clear and actionable.  The project is scheduled to formally kickoff in February 2019, with the final map delivered to GEMI six months thereafter.

To learn more about this GEMI project and opportunities for participation as a GEMI member or non-member project participant, please contact Kellen Mahoney. 

GEMI Begins Project Focused on Barriers to Recycling Contaminated Food Film Packaging


While a variety of collaborative programs exist to address plastics in the economy and develop new circular solutions, such efforts are predominantly focused on post-consumer single-use plastics with more limited attention to post-industrial waste streams.  Leading companies across industries have established clear goals around waste reduction and zero waste to landfill but can be challenged in finding practical solutions for recycling of post-industrial contaminated plastics.  While challenges with contaminated materials vary across industries, initial investigation by GEMI indicates that there is a specific challenge and potential opportunity to provide value to GEMI members in this area.  One specific area of interest relates to recycling of post-industrial food film packaging contaminated with animal byproducts from the protein industry.

Project Overview

GEMI’s vision is to develop a Post-Industrial Contaminated Plastic Work Group to engage key stakeholders across the value chain to foster pre-competitive collaborative cross-industry dialogue and develop business-driven solutions that can enhance domestic recycling and material management capabilities for potentially contaminated post-industrial plastics while increasing value for stakeholders across the value chain.

Based on GEMI’s investigations into this area, this work group will launch with an initial project focused on unique challenges related to post-industrial contaminated food film packaging.  The goal of this initial project is to develop a model that could be replicated to address similarly challenging post-industrial contaminated waste streams from other industries. Phase 1 of this project is designed to identify and organize a collaborative group of key stakeholders from across the value chain to develop a landscape assessment document outlining challenges, issues for industry consideration, and activities already underway by companies and organizations related to recycling post-industrial contaminated food film packaging.  

Project Participants

Current GEMI members and project participants committed to participate in this project include: ExxonMobil Chemical, Food Marketing Institute, Sealed Air, Smithfield Foods, Sodexo, Tyson Foods and Waste Management

To learn more about this GEMI project and opportunities for participation as either a GEMI member or non-member project participant, please contact Kellen Mahoney.  .

GEMI Members Convene in Washington, DC for Fall Meeting

On December 5, the Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI) held its Fall Membership meeting at the Army & Navy Club in Washington, DC. The meeting was sponsored by GEMI members Schlumberger and Smithfield Foods.

GEMI provides a forum for global corporate environmental / sustainability thought leaders to learn from each other, develop collaborative solutions, and engage with strategic partners to advance solutions to emerging environmental and sustainability challenges.

This meeting included in-depth discussion on topics such as engaging and collaborating with suppliers on sustainability goals, as well as understanding and addressing barriers / opportunities in moving toward a circular economy. The meeting also included discussions on planned GEMI activities in 2019, including initiatives related to supplier engagement / collaboration, recycling of contaminated post-industrial plastics, developing a 10-year map of future forces impacting sustainability, and continuing engagement with industry trade associations working on sustainability efforts.

The meeting included expert speakers from GEMI members and guests organizations such as American Chemistry Council, EcoVadis, ExxonMobil, Manufacture 2030, Plastics Industry Association, Retail Industry Leaders Association, Responsible Battery Coalition, Sealed Air, Smithfield Foods,  UL Environment and Waste Management and World Economic Forum.

For more information about GEMI and participation in upcoming activities, visit or email GEMI’s Program Manager Kellen Mahoney at

About GEMI

GEMI is a global leader in developing insights, networking, and creating collaborative sustainability solutions for business. For 25 years, GEMI has captured the vision and experience of global corporate environmental, health and safety (EHS) and sustainability leaders from diverse business sectors through the development of a wide range of publicly-available, solutions-based tools designed to help companies improve the environment, their operations and add business value.

GEMI December Member Meeting

GEMI will hold a membership meeting on December 5, from 7:30AM – 3:00PM, at The Army and Navy Club on Farragut Square (901 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20006). The meeting will include GEMI member and guest speaker presentations on topics such as circular economy, supply chain sustainability and industry-level sustainability initiatives. Thanks to GEMI members Schlumberger and Smithfield Foods for sponsoring this meeting.

Corporate environmental and sustainability representatives may apply to attend the meeting as GEMI’s guest. To request an invitation to the meeting, please complete the following:

Meeting Invitation Request