One of the incidental consequences of pandemic and the resulting shutdown is that individuals and businesses have realized sustainable and harmonious living is non-negotiable, and the fight against climate change is no longer optional. In other words, preventing unhealthy lifestyle choices, welcoming mindful consumption, and being part of a conscious co-existence with nature is the new - ‘new normal’.
And given the fact that climate change continues to be a crisis for the modern world, it is time to give sustainable living a serious thought to protect the planet and future generations.
Also Read: Are Emissions Really Dwindling Forever or for Now?
Alarming environmental stats and need for sustainable living
- The global average temperature continues to rise. The average global land and ocean temperature in 2020 was the highest ever measured (The Guardian).
- 200 million tonnes of waste are produced each year and a lot of it eventually ends up onto a landfill site, and will take hundreds of years to decompose naturally. (Source)
- Pollution, largely from fossil fuel emissions, kills millions of people (8 million alone in 2018) worldwide annually.
- Sea ice has decreased for 32 straight years, and ice melt is accelerating (Source)
The role of business in reversing the worst impacts and encouraging the practice of sustainable living is paramount.
- For environmentally-conscious brands, sustainability is a popularly growing practice. Moreover, there is a growing environmental conscience among consumers. According to a survey, 1 in 3 consumers prefers eco-friendly options.
- Incorporating sustainability into business practices not only helps businesses stay competitive but also sends a message of environmental awareness that reflects positively in the brand image.
- Sustainability can be adopted in a number of ways, including using resources responsibly during manufacturing, creating products that have little impact on the environment, use recyclable packaging, optimizing the supply chain to lessen greenhouse gas emissions etc., to name a few.
- Many investors look at Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics before making an informed investment decision about a company. Research in HBR states that that "sustainable businesses see greater financial gains than their unsustainable counterparts". (More)
- Relying on renewable energy sources to cater to the growing electricity needs is another step towards sustainability. Notably, Co2 emissions from electricity contribute to nearly 40% of the net Co2 emissions in 2020, and the steepest decline in CO2 emissions by 2030 must come from electricity generation as all the necessary renewable energy technologies already exist.
- Simply put, there is no alternative to sustainable industrialization. Thankfully, there is increased recognition of this fact worldwide amongst corporates, as evidenced by an increase in corporate PPA uptake. As per BNEF in 2019, over 100 companies across 23 countries signed 19.5 GW of corporate PPAs. The pace did not slacken in 2020.