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Sustainability Trends That Corporates Must Look Out For In 2020

4 Mins read

Entering into an era of drastic climate changes and calamities the need for sustainable development is a must for survival of corporates. As we are entering into a decade of actions, companies are not only surviving the risk but also creating opportunities too. Gone are the days when companies could ignore environmental concerns and focus only on expanding business. The current time, demand companies to be more aware and concerned towards sustainable development for various reasons like protecting the planet, and its resources for an impactful influence on the community and to maintain its brand image plus goodwill.

Many observers are finding it harder to achieve sustainability goals since there is a surge in environmental disasters. Ranging from forest fires in Amazon, Indonesia, and Australia, to widespread locust attack in India, to continuous protests in Hong Kong, Brazil, India, Iraq, and the USA, and lastly the recent outbreak of the pandemic, COVID-19 worldwide spread.

Thus, the given trends push corporates to identify how these issues should interact and to find connections between them. Companies need to broadcast bolder announcements that are scientific and address the legacy of the company. Every company needs to accept effective transformation that will accelerate and amplify their positive impact.

When we gaze into the crystal ball, we find 5 top trends that will shape businesses this year.

1. Addressing Climate Mitigate

The times we are entering in requires us to pay attention to the reduction of greenhouse gas emission, and ten years from now must be worked in correspondence to halve global greenhouse gas emission. Especially by industries like electricity and heating, transportation, agriculture and forestry, and manufacturing and construction should increase their efforts to reduce the GHG levels, as they remain more responsible for the increase. As these issues are escalating, both private and public sectors must work jointly to transit to low- carbon energy, as well as pragmatic investments in carbon seizure solutions. The outcome will help to alleviate the current large scale combustion of coal, oil, and gas by the companies. We will also see a shift, in applying and advancements of low – carbon technologies, including hydrogen fuel cells, biomass, electric batteries, and others. Subsequently, asset managers of companies will dump carbon-intensive coal companies in their managed profile, as a step to reduce exposure to risk.

Recommendation For Companies
– Companies must pledge to reduce their carbon emission and must adopt the Paris agreement while trying to reduce emissions on scientific bases.
– Assess the role of your company and decide what it can do to support and increase carbon blockade in the supply chain.
– Your company must spend in low- carbon technologies and markets
– Encourage on adopting government regulation and clear policies on climate change, for example, carbon pricing, etc.

2. Pondering On Climate Tipping Points

As there is an increase in extreme weather conditions, we are facing a rapid loss in the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, the extinction of coral reefs, and an increase in catastrophic wildfires. As a result, companies will deal with looming pressure from policymakers and investors to get serious about climate risk. There will be increased stress on climate preparations in direct operations and across value chains. Also, many investors will pressurize companies to conduct a climate risk assessment. Moreover, as companies will upgrade to sustainable infrastructures such as electricity grid, roads, and buildings, its soaring costs will encourage public-private collaborations to fill the funding gap.

Recommendations for companies
– Companies must incorporate climate risks and opportunities into their strategic vision and planning. Also, they must acknowledge everyone in the company about climate preparedness and supply chain resilience
– To ascertain long term climate impacts companies should use the ‘Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD)’ to examine the scenario.
– To investigate, any climate issue, companies must ensure climate risk is completely planted into the existing board and committee structures

3. Following The Circular Solutions Approach

Circular Solution refers to use – less, use longer, use again, and make a clean approach. As well as the use of regenerative materials. These strategies are complementary and require lifecycle-based, systemic, and multi-actor approaches. As steered by the pressure of society and regulatory authorities companies, are adopting circular strategies. The strategy promotes redesigning products to use fewer materials and energy; shifting to product-service models; setting up product take-back schemes; improving and repurposing waste, and fill infinite materials for renewable ones. Companies need to understand the connection between the circular and low – carbon agendas. They should also understand the underestimated circular economy will lead to a low- carbon future. The coming age demands more companies to innovate, collaborate, and demonstrate the opportunities of a net zero-emission.

Recommendations For The Company
– Companies should engage in more association within and outside the value chain. Plus it should focus more on dematerialization.
– The use of circular strategies much be incorporate into the business to meet climate targets
– A company should also work on models that will deliver benefit to both the costumers and them

4. Eliminating Plastic

The use of plastic is becoming damaging for nature and climate hence companies are eliminating its use. Since the link between plastic and climate change becomes more evident, it is receiving more attention. As an action, companies are committing goals to expunge plastic wastes. This issue still needs a substantive action plan as compared to the global plastic usage in the world. Since recycling cost is higher than the production cost of virgin plastic hence its production will increase.

Recommendation for the Companies
– Companies need to invest and innovate sustainable alternatives to replace plastic.
– Robust Plans and commitments should be taken into action.
– Companies should simultaneously work out on both plastic related strategies and on reducing their consumptions.
– Companies should identify the ways to become successful commercially and also encourage customers to buy less.

5. To Target Sustainable Consumption

Companies today are understanding that consumers prefer brands that align with their values. As a result, they want to shift towards manufacturing more sustainable products. We witness a growing trend being adopted by companies to produce sustainable products and services that ensure sustainable lifestyles. They are also focusing on making more affordable products to gap the aspirational behavioral change. Thus driving global sales of sustainable consumption and also to respond to their demand.

Recommendations for the companies
– Companies should incorporate sustainable products into businesses instead of just adding a new product line. Reviewing Product- Profile is also vital to review sustainable products of the company so that customers can live healthier
– Companies need to reduce their air travel and should also address how employees should travel sustainably
– By creating sustainable consumption, no other problem should arise. And must consider embedding sustainability into the whole system rather than just in an individual product.

Stutee Sharma
– Journalist, Diggaj Media

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