Social, environmental and economic changes have made the old way of doing business redundant — here are the eight economic megatrends to be on the lookout for.

Commonwealth Bank and Business Insider co-authored the Megatrends Report, which outlines eight global megatrends the CSIRO believes are impacting the economy and changing the ways companies do business.

“Understanding these changes and the convergence of global forces that change the shape of the way people, business, society and politics operate as we move further into the 21st century is going to be critical to business survival in the years and decades ahead,” the report states.

What are these megatrends?

Megatrends are “gradual yet powerful trajectories of change that will at some point express themselves with explosive force and throw companies, individuals and societies into freefall”, Stefan Hajkowicz from the CSIRO said in the report.

So they’re pretty helpful if you’re about to make a years-long investment. Here they are explained:

1. Resource scarcity

Hajkowicz believes that growing scarcity of resources will force us to do more with less.

“It will change the way we live and change the way markets operate and the ways societies govern themselves.”

2. Environmental change 

This isn’t just about climate change — though that is having a massive impact across an array of industries — but includes issues like increasing antibiotic resistance and urban sprawl.

READ: 6 ways to turn a buck from climate change

3. The Silk Highway

This one refers to the importance of the Asia Pacific, as China’s Belt and Road initiative gets further underway, and the emergence of China and Asia as global economic powerhouses.

4. Global movement

The modern world is a fast moving place. From urban density to the interconnectedness of the global economy for business and leisure travel, everyone is on the move. It’s upending data mobility and collaboration, and traditional transportation and freight.

5. Ageing population

Birth rates are falling, which is leading to a demographic shift in many countries towards older populations. It is a key fear for Japan and a reason they’re so keen to embrace regenerative medicine.

READ: Why an ageing population could be good news for ASX investors

6. Digital immersion

There is a shift underway from mere digitisation to the digital world being the only one we know.

“Business leaders won’t need a digital strategy because there won’t be any other type of strategy,” Hajkowicz said.

7. Artificial intelligence

This also includes the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning, designed to increase efficiency, and a key plank of business that companies must not leave behind.

READ: Top small cap AI companies on the ASX to consider

8. Human touch

But as digital immersion continues, Hajkowicz predicts we will see a swing back towards “real experiences”, saying the need for human connection and the need for businesses to remember consumers’ humanity is going nowhere.