The Year 2020 had a lot of tumultuous things in store for almost everyone! You could say that it was the year for nature as it locked the people in their houses but then the number of forest fires was unprecedented too!
The year was, mostly unlucky and almost every possible aspect that defines sustainable living was impacted in one way or the other. However, while all of that happened, there were a few trends that caught up too!
As we write the last post of 2020, let us look at what all happened on the sustainability front!
- Reduction in the consumption of energy
Reduction in energy consumption is one of the significant sustainability trends among different businesses apart from COVID-19, leading to a decrease in energy use worldwide. Some examples to show are LEED certifications are in demand for many buildings, electric vehicles are being used in freight transportation, and LED lighting is becoming the new norm.
- Changes in the production of energy
One of the expected widespread sustainability trends is lessening dependency on fossil fuels, with the renewables industry expected to make a comeback post-pandemic. Proof that grants and amendments to the renewables industry have influenced renewables now make up 11 percent of the US’s energy. There is a budding inclination towards micro-generation of electricity in homes along with large-scale solar and wind farms. Also, renewable energy is increasingly affordable, enabling individuals and businesses to invest in renewable energy with ease.
- Increased Demand for Plant-based food
Due to environmental benefits, the demand for plant-based foods increase
The plant-based diet is another popular sustainability trend. Tofu, veggie meat, and tempeh are at present supermarket items, and a few food delivery apps released data that showed that orders for vegan and plant-based food are at an all-time high. It is due to consumer concern with the meat industry and the animal cruelty side’s impact on the environment. Alone in the US, forestry, and agriculture accounted for 9 percent of 2017 US greenhouse gas emissions 2017. Meanwhile, 26 percent of the earth’s land is used for livestock grazing, and one-third of arable land is used for producing crops for feeding livestock exclusively. The vegan lifestyle is maturing considerably more affordable, like the renewables industry that adds to its popularity. Additionally, the rise of lab-grown meat is to be looked at. Lab-grow meat altering muscle cells in a nab environment for color, taste, texture, and shape can be produced within cities near distribution centers.
- Fall of fast fashion
One of the most extensive polluters in the world that are seen in today’s world is fast fashion. Agile fashion brands such as Forever 21, H&M, Urban Outfitters, and Fashion Nova produce cheap, machine-made apparel with a compact shelf life, both in endurance and fashion. Most maximum of the clothes are not recycled and end up in landfills. Thus, one of the forthcoming sustainability trends is more petite entrepreneurial brands focusing on reducing waste production. Consumers are further knowledgeable than ever of their environmental trail and are causing the transfer from fast fashion to thrifting, and custom made clothing and sustainable brands.
- Companies made bold climate commitments
One hundred seventy-seven corporations beyond sectors are vowing to reach net-zero effusions by 2050 and restrict mediocre global heat not to rise more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. Various companies are setting ambitious goals to invest in clean energy and transportation and foster sustainability within their operations and global supply chains. Companies are tackling their emissions and driving policy change in their countries and regions.
- Carbon negative gained popularity
One of the year’s major sustainability trends is the push towards zero emissions. Almost daily announcements of net-zero initiatives from different countries, organizations, and individuals were seen. In 2020, Microsoft is not committing to removing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they emit by 2030. It is not yet transparent how this will be fulfilled. Experts pronounce that any net-zero initiative should start with emission reductions in line with 1.5 degrees Celsius or below 2 degrees Celsius. Companies that commit to carbon zero are likely to see an upswing in investors, and they will establish a new standard for prospective companies.
- Big Technology took on sustainability
The advancement of technology, ranging from physical technologies like wind turbines, electric vehicles, photovoltaics, microgrids, battery storage, and other distributed to artificial intelligence and immense data energy resources, is another major sustainability trend. Such technologies open the door for new opportunities and business models that could dramatically change the sustainability and energy industry. The affordability and proliferation of physical technologies imply more end users are likely to add renewables and other grid-edge resources to their energy portfolios to achieve cost certainty and greater control, improve resiliency and fulfill sustainability goals and commitments. Similarly, faster access to better quality information for informed decision-making is enabled by virtual technologies that help organizations become more sustainable.
- Rise of the Green Microgrids
One of the foremost sustainability trends for multiple reasons is microgrids. Even in regions with power scarcity and a growing population, microgrids provide access to a secure and reliable power supply. Electrical interruptions increase as extreme weather becomes more common due to climate change, and microgrids can create a more resilient infrastructure. The decreasing expense of photovoltaic (PV) and battery storage resolutions additionally have made microgrid projects affordable. Green microgrids are not a niche solution anymore. Like Lidl’s carbon-neutral distribution center in Finland, numerous successful microgrid projects reveal they are gaining popularity in multiple sectors such as infrastructure, military, commercial, and industrial.
- Challenges of Capitalism
In recent years, capitalism has come under fire as people question its social, economic, and environmental effects.
The World Economic Forum at their January forum in Davos stressed-
stakeholder capitalism that released a manifesto requiring companies to pay their fair share of taxes,
uphold human rights throughout their global supply chains,
show zero tolerance to corruption,
and advocate for a competitive level playing field.
For reimagining a healthier planet, nations are attempting society to be re-defining ideas of growth and progress. Individuals, countries, and businesses in 2020 are voicing that global production systems and consumption, whether of food, cloth, or other commodities, are damaging to the planet and should include positive impacts beyond profit.
- Rise of Water conservation
The water crisis was identified as one of the top 5 most significant risks to society over the next decade in the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Risk Report. By 2030, the UN predicts the world will see a decrease in the global water supply amounting to 40 percent. Therefore, from companies, we can see a greater interest in water efficiency. Companies are accumulating information about their water footprint by aligning water definitions across their business. These companies are becoming more educated on how water is used in production and operations and monitoring their water utility bills.