5 Sustainability for Business Trends to Follow

Climate change is no longer a threat of the distant future, but a reality. As a society, everyone has a part to play in creating a more sustainable future. From ESG’s to sustainable fashion, here are the sustainability for business trends to keep an eye on

by Rachel Johnson | 12 Apr, 2022
Sustainability for Business Trends

1. Sustainable Finance

One sector making a significant commitment to the sustainability movement is finance. Environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) criteria are becoming important factors to which investors are turning. They are quickly recognizing the value of getting ahead of the net zero model and know that almost every business will be affected by sustainability changes in the near future. Large banks including Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase have already pledged trillions of US dollars to climate action investments.

Check out more on sustainable finance here.

2. Sustainable Supply Chains

Supply chain sustainability takes into account companies' efforts to consider the environmental and human impact of their products' journey, from raw materials sourcing to production, storage, delivery, and transportation links in between. Companies like Salesforce are now pushing for higher standards from their suppliers by creating an emphasis on climate and human rights.

Sustainable supply chains are more stable; they anticipate regulatory developments and reduce reputational risks. In order to secure global supply chains, supply chain strategies have to factor in ecological and social concerns.

Dr. Jens Dinkel, Partner, Sustainability Services at PwC Germany

3. Sustainable Travel

Following the pandemic, when travel came to a halt and showed how much of a carbon footprint we were truly leaving, and now with the ongoing war, sustainable travel has become an ever-increasing topic of conversation. Opportunities to transform, however, will only succeed if changes in regulation, consumer behavior, and technology take place. The automotive industry is brainstorming new ways to make electric vehicles and EV charging (stations and roads) a reality for all. Cities are looking at innovations like advanced traffic management and parking systems, mobility-as-a-service, and new transportation concepts (e.g., bicycles and e-scooters) to help reduce emissions and congestion. In the aviation industry, flight search engines like Google have already begun to show carbon footprint numbers, and, when booking a flight with many airlines, the consumer now has the option to pay to offset their carbon footprint. A trend to get on board with!

4. Sustainable fashion

The fashion industry is well situated to lead the way in sustainability. There are numerous ways it can reduce emissions, promote decarbonization, and encourage sustainable consumer behavior (e.g. recycling or trading in old clothes), and these changes will have positive impact on business. In comparison to other industries, the prospects look good financially. Approximately 60% of these actions will require upfront investment, but for the industry overall, 55% will have net cost savings. Consumers are also driving incentives towards the industry to make changes, with 63% considering a brand’s promotion of sustainability to be an important purchasing factor.

5. Sustainable food

Data analytics and sensors can help create better food management in a number of industries. One industry to look out for, in particular, is fishing. There is a lot of room for improvement here, as many fishing companies still use very old-school fishing methods. With new technological advancements, fishermen will not only be able to protect certain species from extinction, but also increase their catch. They could reduce yearly operating costs by $11 billion US, customers would benefit from lower food costs, and the management of ocean resources would improve. For precision fishing to become a reality, big data will play an important role.

WATCH: Business Trends 2022 - Sustainability for a Better World

What to Read/Listen to:

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming by Paul Hawken

What will it take to reverse global warming? Paul Hawken and his team of scientists, policymakers, and researchers teamed up to show 80 different ways that taking collective action can save the future. Factoring financial responsibility into the picture, they show how much this would cost businesses, and how much each way would save in the long run.

The Economics of Sustainable Food: Smart Policies for Health and the Planet by Nicoletta Batini

Food waste, malnutrition, diseases, and environmental degradation, the list of economic losses from food production is endless. However, the topic has long been ignored as the food industry is not paying the costs of these losses. Batini highlights the broken system and shows the true cost of food for people and the planet, giving readers detailed alternatives for the future of food production.

The Digital Supply Chain Podcast by Tom Raftery

Hosted by SAP Innovation Evangelist Tom Raftery, The Digital Supply Chain Podcast takes listeners down the path to create a sustainable supply chain, whether that be in the design, planning, manufacturing, production, delivery, or product operation phases. New episodes, with experts in the fields of supply chain Industry 4.0, are released every Monday and Friday.

What can you as a consumer do?

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