New Year’s Eve is just around the corner folks! The year 2021, with all its dramatic turn of events, is coming to a close but we are steaming ahead with hope in our hearts for 2022! Whether you’re an individual or a business, the need to amalgamate sustainability in our everyday lives is becoming more and more important.
2021 witnessed the much-awaited climate conference COP26 that aimed for a paradigm shift in the global movement to achieve sustainability. The equivocal outcome of the conference is still a matter of discussion amongst activists, world leaders and businesses alike. However, in its wake, the dialogues revolving around sustainability have kick started with a renewed sense of urgency. The cause is getting alarmingly real and businesses, particularly, will have to take notice as we turn the page to the new year.
No matter the size of your business adapting to the new normal of sustainable changes will become imperative no matter the size of your organisation. Conscious consumerism is becoming the new norm after all.
So if you’re an organisation or an entrepreneur envisioning a greener 2022 for your business, here are some trends to expect this coming year:
A rise in ESG investment
ESG is simply short for Environment, Social and Governance. These are the three non-financial factors that determine the favourability of an investment in a company or a business. ESG acts as a metric of a company’s standing on the three fronts as they have a lasting impact on the environment and society as a whole. Businesses get an ESG score or a rating from third party institutions based on their performance which needs to be accessible and data-driven. Investors are being guided by ESG considerations now more than ever and this trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
Corporate Social Responsibilities are taking precedence when it comes to consumer wallets. Your buyers are getting increasingly aware of what they consume and what your practices and policies are when it comes to society and the environment. Consumers, particularly the growing Generation Z, are now exhibiting buyer behaviour that is sustainability-driven.
Greenwashing is a notorious marketing ploy wherein businesses claim to be more eco-friendly and sustainable than they actually are. On one hand, where there is an alarming increase of false sustainability claims by large conglomerates, there is also a rise in consumer awareness and sensitivity to environmental and societal causes. It won’t be easy for businesses to get away with hollow claims when their consumers will be ever-ready to call them out for it. This is where data-driven integrity comes in. In order to form a basis for their claims, organisations will need to have systems in place that records data, make it accessible to independent, third-party institutions that can then verify it and provide assurance to stakeholders and consumers of the business.
Reducing corporate footprint through sustainable operations
Decarbonising across all business operations along with decarbonising the supply chain is now the starting point for any organisation, big or small. This will be a trend that is here to stay and will only gather pace in 2022. Ignoring efforts to ensure sustainability would be detrimental to any business as conscious consumerism is on the rise.
Now, with the UK planning to enforce TCFD (Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures) reporting by April 2022 for all stock market-listed companies, it will be necessary to disclose all financial data related to climate. If this happens, then it will make the UK the first G20 nation to turn the mandate into law.
Decarbonising Remote Work
As COVID-19 changed the face of work-life around the globe and remote work became the new norm, there has been a reduction in energy consumption as well as carbon footprints of individuals commuting to work and the use of office space.
In spite of these reductions, it has been found that within the UK, WFH is not as carbon-efficient as it seems. Winters have caused a spike in emissions as individual houses using heating appliances is less efficient than an office space being heated. So, the need of the hour is not just to measure the carbon emissions of offices but also remote spaces and make substantial strides to offset them.
Rise of Sustainable Packaging
Packaging has an important role to play for businesses that ship and sell products and is integral to their day-to-day operations. There are a lot of materials involved in the process of an item reaching the final consumer. If businesses are not conscious about the packaging material they use, be it the outer or inner packaging waste material is bound to add up. So, it becomes imperative to be sure that the materials being used to package your products are leaving no ecological footprints behind. Consumers now prefer packaging that can be either reused, recycled or one that is fully compostable.
No matter the size of the business, it’s important to take a note of ways to keep yourself and your business conscious. And as this year comes to an end, I sincerely hope you follow and achieve your personal goals, aspirations and targets. With that I hope to catch your attention next year too!