Major Sustainability Trends to Watch Out for in 2022

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Global warming and the COVID-19 pandemic have accelerated trends in sustainability, and we’re seeing more and more energy going into finding sustainable solutions. Efforts are underway to address the need for systemic change and to rethink how organisations and industries work and we are seeing bold ideas being put into practice.

The future of renewable energy looks promising

In an infographic derived from the latest Climate Watch data, it is noted that energy usage accounts for 73.2% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Although this is far and away from being the biggest contributor, the second largest contributor to GDP is agriculture, at 18%.

Energy generation has been the subject of significant interest and progress over the last couple of years, so it does not come as a surprise. As a matter of fact, in the past year, solar and wind power were both up 23% and 12% respectively, which are record growth rates for renewable energy sources. Wind and solar together account for two-thirds of the current renewable energy output with 1154 GW and 709 GW, respectively. According to statistics from the International Energy Agency (IEA), renewable energy consumption increased by 3% last year even as all other energy consumption declined.

ESG investments take centre stage

The expression “ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investing” is often used to describe a specific type of financial investing that values environmental, social and corporate governance factors in addition to financial returns. The global pandemic seems to have propelled environment driven ESG investments into a whole new bracket, even though socially responsible investing has been on the rise for quite a while.

It has become very popular today to invest in environmental, social, and governance projects that consider the long-term effects that they will have on the environment. During this period of increasing focus, businesses are not only being forced to be more open about any environmental impact they may have but they are also being challenged to answer the age-old question – is it possible to make money while simultaneously making a positive contribution to society? In a nutshell, the answer is yes. Due to the rush to get in on the sustainability bandwagon and invest in companies that follow that path, the value of global ESG assets, which aim to improve the world, is worth trillions of dollars.

Application of technology to sustainability

In the past few years, the digital revolution has accelerated the adoption of technology in all areas of business, particularly sustainability. Businesses in the future will be more inclined to utilize advanced technology in order to create healthier, more sustainable, and even more equitable business practices. Digitalization and the management of data have become integral parts of business operations. These technologies form an integral part of how businesses set up their systems and conduct business. Additionally, they play a crucial role in how they manage sustainability within their organizations. The digital revolution has been accelerated by COVID-19, a process widely recognized by many. Mass migration of systems to the cloud was accomplished rapidly, as well as upgrading remote meeting and remote working capabilities. This was done while elevating the digitization of customer interactions, with many companies implementing changes years earlier than anticipated before the outbreak. The latest developments in ESG data management technologies are also directly assisting companies, large facilities, and cities in reducing emissions, reducing energy consumption, and conserving water by measuring and optimizing data.

The use of many of these technologies is energy-intensive; therefore, smart implementation of these technologies could result in at least a ten percent reduction in global emissions by 2050, by improving production, transportation, and energy consumption efficiency.

Transition to a circular economy

The circular economy aims to eliminate waste from the manufacturing process, not just from the manufacturing process, which is what lean management aims to do, but throughout the life cycle and the use of products and their components. A circular economy is defined by a program of tight component and product cycles of use and reuse, which are facilitated by product design, as opposed to a linear, take-make-dispose economy, which wastes large amounts of materials, energy, and labour embedded in it. The development of this trend is still in its early stages, but it is showing signs of rapid growth. It’s becoming obvious that we are currently seeing a transition toward circular economies take shape as more and more industries are learning how to incorporate the model of production and consumption based on reusing, repairing, refurbishing, recycling and refurbishing existing materials and products. There is no doubt that the circular economy is a beautifully thought-out idea that is inspiring businesses to transform themselves for a sustainable future!

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