As we move into the future and the world around us continues to shift, the actions we are taking to build a more sustainable society have never been more important. We’re quickly seeing changes in the way businesses and individuals of all kinds perceive and prioritise the notion of sustainability, with many knowing that the fate of our future lies in what is being planned and done now. In this regard, as we head into 2022, a number of trends and opportunities are taking the forefront in terms of how we can make strides forward in this critical area.
In this article, we’ll review some of the most pertinent and the promise they bring for creating a healthier and more sustainable world for all.
An Emphasis On ESG
ESG, or Environmental Social Governance, is rapidly becoming one of the most important focuses for companies and investors alike. The reasoning behind this is simple: ESG factors have a real, tangible impact on a company’s bottom line.
Numerous studies have shown that businesses with strong ESG performances enjoy a better financial performance, lower risk profiles, and enhanced shareholder value.
What this boils down to is that sustainable business practices are not only the right thing to do, but they’re also the smart thing to do. This is a message that is being increasingly heard and heeded by businesses of all sizes and in all industries.
A Crackdown On Illegal Fishing
Illegal fishing is a serious problem to our environment and is likewise one of the most harmful things being done to our oceans’ sustainability. It can wreak unimaginable havoc, with illegal fishing operations often overexploiting certain species, using and discarding prohibited gear, as well as causing damage to natural environments like coral reefs.
With all of these impacts in mind, something we’re seeing promise for in the coming year is the regulation and enforcement of sustainable fishing practices around the world.
This can be most prominently noted in the likes of The World Trade Organisation, which has recently been working on an agreement to remove harmful fishing subsidies. If successful, this agreement could be instrumental in finally curbing the illegal fishing crisis.
The Normalisation Of Plant-Based Diets
A plant-based diet is one that focuses on whole, unrefined or minimally refined plants as the main source of nutrients. This type of diet has been shown to have numerous benefits for both people and the planet alike, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving human health, and saving animals’ lives.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing a rise in interest in plant-based diets, with this trend being most notable in developed countries. In the United States, for example, there has been a 500% increase in the number of individuals who identify as having a plant-based diet.
This increasing awareness and desire for change are likely to lead to even more plant-based options becoming available in the coming year, making it easier than ever for people to transition to this type of diet.
The Importance Of Sustainable Packaging
Sustainable packaging is an important environmental trend that is likely to gain even more traction in the coming year. Sustainable packaging is defined as packaging that is designed to reduce the negative environmental impact of the packaging itself.
This can be accomplished in a number of ways, such as using recycled materials, using less energy and water in the production process, and designing packaging that is easier to recycle.
One company that is doing an excellent job of implementing sustainable packaging is Coca-Cola. In recent years, Coke has been making strides to transition to using more recycled materials in its packaging.
For example, they have developed a new type of bottle made from plant-based renewable resources that can be composted. This is just one example of the many initiatives Coke has launched in an effort to become more sustainable.
The Rise Of Circular Economies
A circular economy is one in which the waste or byproducts of a process are used as inputs in another process, creating a sustainable, closed-loop system. This is in contrast to our current linear economy, which is characterised by take, make, waste.
There are a number of advantages to transitioning to a circular economy, chief among them being reduced environmental impact. It’s got economic benefits too. Research indicates that a circular economy has the potential to offer $4.5 trillion worth of economic opportunity through the reduction of waste and stimulation of innovation.
As we move into the new year, we’re likely to see even more businesses and governments begin to adopt circular economy principles. Already, there are a number of notable examples of this, such as the UK Government’s Circular Economy Package policy statement.
This growing trend is one that we should all be keeping an eye on, as it has the potential to not only benefit the environment but also drive substantial economic growth.
The Growth Of Green Infrastructure
Green infrastructure is a term used to describe the use of natural systems to manage stormwater and other environmental concerns. This type of infrastructure has become increasingly important in recent years as municipalities have begun to recognize the benefits it offers, such as improved water quality, reduced flooding, and enhanced biodiversity.
As we move into the new year, we’re likely to see more municipalities investing in green infrastructure. This trend is being driven by a number of factors, including the growing awareness of the benefits of green infrastructure, the increasing cost of traditional stormwater management systems, and new funding opportunities from agencies such as the Environment agency and CIRIA.
Really, based on what we know about climate change and our environment, our prosperity on this planet relies on our ability to live with it in tandem.
There are many different ways to do this, but one of the most important is through sustainability. Going forward, there is a lot of promise in the world of sustainable business, however, there is a lot that still needs to be done.
In this regard, the prosperity of our future is dependent on not only our ability to realise the changes that need to be made but to also implement them.