Currently, there are four times as many and by 2025 there will be a multiple of five. Moreover, the emerging markets are becoming ever more significant in terms of size of economies and trade - they're catching up.
Western business values should therefore expect to come in for increasing challenge. China and India, which have very different marketplace cultures going back thousands of years, alone account for half the world's population.
Firms should be prepared for the rules of business to be rewritten as these developing markets change their view of what is 'fair'. Examples to date include pricing issues for Aids drugs and other vaccines, and recent changes in Venezuela's tax law to reduce the preferential treatment for multinational oil companies.
The truly sustainable companies of the future will be making selective and strategic decisions about when and where to forego short-term benefits in favour of longer-term opportunities. Reacting to these choices tactically and defensively, or treating them as peripheral, may well not be enough.
Source: Sustainability and the changing notion of fairness
Speech by Gail Fosler, executive vice-president of The Conference Board and chief economist
Review by Steve Lodge