When we are talking about sustainability trends, let us first learn what is meant by the term ‘sustainability’. Sustainability is broadly defined by the term ‘global sustainability’ which is all about making our planet a healthier place so that we can give the next generations a sustainable future.
In simple words, by sustainability, we mean that we want to live a better life and let our future generations have a healthy life as well, without the threat of a human-generated apocalypse.
By ‘healthy’ we mean environmental, economic, and social health. But, how can we do this? A little thoughtfulness and some strong steps can certainly make the world a better place to live. So, what exactly we are talking about?
We are talking about sustainable products, climate positivity, net-zero carbon, waste management, and all these in the face of increasing industrialization.
With the growing awareness and demand for eco-friendly products and services, sustainability and climate have become equivalent subjects. ESG is a set of standards defined by governing by which the sustainability factor of any given company can be determined.
ESG stands for environment, social and governance. ESG factors might play a major in the long-term risk of an organization and its revenue. Businesses which follow ESG guidelines are less likely to be at risk and more to come up with consistent growth.
In this article, we will learn about the latest sustainability trends that are predictably going to be on the agenda of companies trying to boost their business growth.
Top 10 Sustainability Trends for 2023 and Beyond
1. Sustainable products
Owing to the rapidly changing consumer trends, this has to be on the top list of sustainable trends. There is a lot of growing demand for sustainable products due to the sentiments involved in them.
As active consumers are getting more conscious of the environmental impact and the recyclability factor of the products that they buy, consumers are showing lesser interest in non-sustainable products.
In a McKinsey & Co. survey, 75% of millennial respondents and 66% of all respondents claim to think about sustainability before making a purchase.
Recyclable packaging for local food deliveries has been seen as a concrete initiative by many food and beverage supply chains. Others are putting a lot of effort into research and development of plant-based and sustainable packaging.
2. ESG investments
The biggest change that investment firms are making in their investment ethos is the strict consideration of ESG factors while making investment decisions.
While there is still room for standardizing the norms and generalizing them, investors are expecting rapid acceptance and legalization of the ESG norms in the investment sector.
3. Remote or hybrid working
Unprecedented, yet effective, the latest sustainability trends speak of working from home. Post Covid-19 breakout, it emerged as a necessity and many considered it to be wiped out as soon as normalization settled. But, working remotely turned out to be a boon to developing a sustainable environment.
While working remotely, the number of vehicles on the road and energy consumed by office buildings reduced considerably. This reduced the overall greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
4. Initiatives for cleaner air
Usage of green spaces and the implementation of renewable energy utilities suitable for their unique landscape, many businesses are turning heads in the current market. Clean air is becoming a point of concern and focuses for many, post-covid.
However, it is not easy to measure air metrics unless an ESG service provider is by your side. Through sustainability and ESG management software, your business can contribute to reducing carbon footprint and hence cleaner air.
5. Cheaper renewable energy sources
Earlier, where fossil fuel was much cheaper than renewable energy and thus widely used, now the scenario has changed. Currently, the price of renewable energy produced from wind and solar plants has diminished to a large scale, almost down by 70 to 89% compared to coal and gas.
Since solar power has become much cheaper than coal, solar power-backed utilities are being preferred by the mass. Businesses are nowhere behind.
Leading technology firms are making heavy investments in carbon reduction to showcase their portfolios which has created pressure on fossil fuel-driven businesses.
6. Carbon offsetting
One of the very important sustainability trends in 2023 is going to be carbon offsetting. Carbon offset takes place when an organization invests in carbon offset projects. The motto of these projects is to remove emitted greenhouse gases released in the air or restrict carbon emissions.
Carbon offsetting can be a simple process like planting trees or a complex one like investing in carbon offsetting projects. This trend has taken its pace in the last few years and more and more companies are coming forward with their investments in such projects.
Thus, it is expected that soon this trend will become common and mandatory for every business.
7. Climate positivity by net-zero emissions
A true net-zero climate strategy demands the inclusion of carbon offsets beside the net-zero carbon emission policy. However, businesses are making efforts to reach the target of net-zero emissions and achieve climate positivity.
Climate positivity is the next stage of net zero and includes climate action like planting trees, carbon capture, and making investments in regenerative agriculture.
8. Climate risk disclosures
Major cities like New York are taking maestro steps in following sustainability trends. In such cities, for residential and commercial buildings alike it is a mandate to report their carbon emissions and energy usage. It is expected that by the end of 2023, a lot of cities will join the crowd.
This will have huge impacts on share prices, financial opportunities, investors’ decision-making, and other business aspects. Correct disclosure of climate risks by businesses will play a critical role in building a sustainable world.
9. Poor climate action resulting in penalties
Climate action is a serious business at present. We have witnessed incidents like the CEO of a mining giant resigning as a penalty due to the lack of climate action.
Poor social performance and ignorance of environmental issues led the company and others to suffer. This displays that lack of climate action is a serious offense and will not be tolerated in any situation causing penalties.
10. Pressure on electric utilities
To reduce carbon emissions, some vehicle manufacturing companies have come up with innovative ideas like electric cars. Using utilities that use electricity emitting zero harmful greenhouse gases in the air, is a sustainability trend that is going nowhere and is predicted to grow as time flows.
After the Paris Agreement for environment safety was signed, a lot has changed in the sustainability trends. Some rules have become stricter and people are taking environmental, social and governance, or ESG factors more seriously rather than just a publicity stunt.
As ESG consultants, we at Ethos Sustainability Solutions, help organizations to determine the line of action to create a sustainable business through a detailed analysis of the ESG factors of the company. This helps them in building a good image for the business and boosts their ROI.
Want to discuss or set up sustainability goals for your business? Schedule a consultation call with us today!