At the start of this year I posted some predictions for what would happen in 2007. With the end of the year approaching fast, it’s time to see how accurate my predictions were.
• The global public will become more aware of the damage we’re doing to our environment and will make even more positive changes to protect it. Pressure will be put on businesses to act, but the changes will take time to filter through.
I think the importance of taking care of our environment is really starting to sink in with people. Big businesses are starting to take note, and governments are beginning to enforce and encourage people to be more sustainable. While it’s true that every little bit helps, we won’t start seeing big improvements to our environmental impact until we significantly shift our main industries – something that will take decades to do an economically-viable way. The recent change of government may also help speed up the rate of change.
• Carbon trading will begin on a small scale, with national and international plans to be considered. Governments won’t be involved in the initial carbon trading schemes, but consumers will recognise green businesses.
The Australian Climate Exchange launched in July and Australia is moving closer to setting firm targets for reducing our carbon emissions.
It’s promising to see more businesses and consumers taking up ‘green’ products. We’ll be launching some new green products early in the new year, so stay tuned.
• Sea levels will continue to rise and more of the Artic and Antarctic regions will disappear, possibly forever.
The risk of rising sea levels leaving millions of people homeless is greater than ever. The repercussions of this would obviously be severe, both for the people directly involved and the countries that would need to care for these ‘environmental refugees’.
• Technology will push change in the finance industry and consumers will have more control over how they interact with their financial institution.
We’re already starting to see technology move quickly, with trials underway around the world into the possibility of using mobile phones instead of credit or debit cards. More people are using SMS technology and Internet Banking to stay in touch with their credit union or bank, and I can only see this increasing as technology develops.
• Big banks will realise what credit unions have known for years: the way to make people happy and loyal is to offer them high levels of customer service and give them the attention they need.
I think this change is being made very quietly as banks start to realise just how important being friendly and open is to people. They finally seem to see the value in opening new branches – something we’ve been doing consistently for years!
Credit unions will always have an advantage over banks when it comes to great service – we don’t exist to make profits for shareholders, just provide excellent products and services to our members.
• Business leaders will open lines of dialogue with their staff to improve morale, customer satisfaction, efficiency and, ultimately, profit. Businesses will change to suit their staff, rather making everyone follow one model.
Employers are almost being forced to do this by the market. With unemployment at the low rate it is at the moment, employees are in a fantastic position to create working environments that suit them. Businesses also need to understand what’s important to people – I mean, what will a prospective employer say when an potential employee asks about their carbon footprint!
• Both Adelaide-based AFL teams will do better than last season!
One out of two isn’t bad! The mighty Power moved from twelfth at the end of the 2006 minor rounds to second in 2007, while the Crows fell from second to eighth. I think it’s best to forget about the finals…
Look out for my predictions for next year early in 2008.
Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas surrounded by family and friends.