The past years held great promise in the eyes of environmental consciousness advocates. Each year signified another milestone for another sustainability goal. 2020 was named the beginning of the Decade to Deliver and presented organization leaders with the opportunity to meet in places like New York to discuss environmental change. Sadly, it quickly became the year when many companies fell short of sustainability goals, and everyone had to get used to virtual meetings, banned travel, and operational changes.
However, the coronavirus pandemic didn’t entirely disrupt sustainability plans. In some cases, it accelerated some underlying trends and provided brands with the opportunity to unlock capital at a large scale if they’re able to switch their operations’ direction. 2021 has been called the year of Green Recovery due to the mass mobilization of sustainable capital and advancement of decarbonization technologies.
The present context provides organizations with the prime conditions to integrate sustainable value into their operations, but the experts predict that few will successfully capture them. However, the companies that succeed in navigating the intricate patchwork of opportunities will benefit from the advantages sustainable operations provide.
Read on to discover the timeless sustainability trends businesses should follow in their road to embrace environmentally-friendly processes.
Sustainable products are the norm
Gen Z is responsible for making sustainable products trendy. If you run a business, expect your public to ask you to provide them with sustainable products. More than other age groups, Gen Z is aware of the loss of biodiversity, climate change, and people’s responsibility to change the environmental issues.
Studies show that 54% of them find a brand’s social and environmental efforts paramount when purchasing a product or service. And this age group also has excellent purchasing power because they get high-paid positions when they join the workforce. So, if you target this generation be ready to take sustainability and environmental change quite seriously.
What type of products does the public expect to see going sustainable? Experts believe in lifestyle, fashion, and food.
Starting with 2022, the public expects to increase electric vehicles, sustainable packaging, recycling, and digitalization. Customers want to see that brands limit the amount of trash they produce and send to landfills. For example, most retailers have a high amount of expanded polystyrene (EPS6), also known as Flamingo that is challenging to recycle because it requires unique solutions. But only because the task is more complex than others doesn’t mean brands should ignore it. They can collaborate with a company specializing in recycling flamingo packaging.
Customers also demand from fashion brands to get more sustainable to continue to benefit from their support. Studies show that 38% of buyers switched their preferred clothing brand to a different one that takes sustainability more seriously.
The public is also aware that food production is responsible for over 25% of greenhouse gases. It has a significant role in freshwater consumption and habitat destruction, so it has switched toward veganism and plant-based diets.
Carbon offsetting is dominant
Carbon offsetting implies making up for the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere. It can occur when you fund a carbon offset project that has the role to prevent greenhouse gases from being released or remove them from the atmosphere. These projects can focus on tasks like planting trees or developing technology that can capture carbon. Carbon offsetting is common in sustainability groups, but experts expect it to become a dominant trend in the following year. Both the public and corporations find it of crucial importance. Even if some people see it as greenwashing, it’s an initiative that provides organizations with credible options.
If you run a company, you need to explore the various types of carbon offsetting solutions available on the market and pick the one that suits you. Before choosing one, compare their benefits. However, it would help if you didn’t commit to excessive offsetting to greenwash your business’s environmental effects. It would be best if you also were environmentally responsible when you develop operations and processes.
Climate positive is more important than zero net emissions
If your organization is already committed to releasing zero carbon and involved in a carbon offset project, you can take things to a new level. More and more companies are joining the net-zero emissions initiative, adhering to activities that produce zero carbon dioxide.
After you reach the zero-emissions target, you can work toward being a climate positive brand. Some of the climate positive actions you can join are investing in regenerative agriculture, tree planting, and carbon capture. Consult your team to identify the solution that better suits your values. Or better, poll your public and let them decide what initiative they want your organization to join.
Clean air is a priority for individuals and companies
Everyone saw the pictures of polluted skylines in busy towns became apparent during the weeks when the planet was forced to isolate. People understood that the importance of air quality should stay their focus. In addition, with coronavirus (which is a respiratory health issue) still lurking around, clean air is essential for wellness and health. Companies should expect an improvement of philosophy to become a big topic to discuss in the following months.
Suppose you run a company, and it’s essential to show your public that you want to make the planet a better place with clean air to breathe. In this case, consider investing in sustainability and energy management software. You can manage the issue if you can measure its effects. The software can help you monitor the emissions your operations and buildings produce.
Energy and sustainability management software tells you how much greenhouse gas emissions your business grows and enables you to develop an effective solution to tackle the effects down. Ensure that you measure and verify the effectiveness of the measures you adopt. In case your company relies on employee vehicles or auto fleets, consider switching to electric or hybrid vehicles to lower the overall emissions you produce.
Resilience should be at the top of your mind when running a business. Explore new business models, use innovative technology, and rely on distributed energy to stay green.