2020 could see bold new sustainability business plans

15 Februari 2020

In 2020 many businesses are gearing up for another round of action on sustainability, and the new Sustain Ability 2020 trends report is a great source for companies that want a bird’s-eye view on the topic so as to expand their horizons.

The annual report by an ERP Group company outlines 10 key sustainable business trends to shape the new year, offering insightful case studies, comments from industry experts and highlights from other global reports.

As the planet continues to warm, more and more companies are taking meaningful action. Heidelberg Cement, for one, has recently become the first company in the building and construction sector committed to producing carbon-neutral cement by 2050. Some will go even beyond that, with the software giant Microsoft pledging to go carbon-negative by 2030 without offsetting its emissions.

“The most urgent challenge is for the industry to advocate for government regulation that will support the transition to a lower carbon economic model,” including “an economy-wide carbon price,” says Charles Allison, an expert at the Energy & Climate Change Services of ERM.

Experts are predicting faster deployment of electric vehicles, mass divestments from fossil fuels, and improved emissions disclosures. A changing climate has already become a new normal and it will be important for companies to adapt accordingly. We will see the rise of both extreme events and financial measures to buffer against them, along with new stakeholder collaborations to improve our adaptive strategies, more robust risk mitigation measures and a transition to sustainable finance.

While the climate is likely to remain a key concern, many other issues will also witness elevated focus. Among them is the transition to sustainable business models and supply chains. Going beyond carbon-based models, more companies will strive to become resource-positive, driven by trailblazers like Starbucks, which is “aspiring to give more than it takes from the planet”.

Sustain Ability analysts also predict 2020 to be a “pivotal year for plastic action” with multiple national plastic bans coming into force. Thus, we are likely to see changes in the global recycling market, new alternatives to plastic packaging and the rise of chemical recycling. 

This year is also expected to be interesting in terms of technological developments directed particularly at the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. For example, the adoption of 5G technology can bring better learning opportunities to remote areas, breaking barriers of social mobility. And drones are expected to provide improved healthcare provision in vulnerable and distant communities.

Among other notable trends will be increased collaboration of consumers and producers on promoting sustainable lifestyles, the rise of transparency powered by blockchain technology and stepped-up action on protecting biodiversity. All in all, it looks like 2020 may bring some real sustainability transitions, with bold commitments effectively enacted in practice.

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