2020: Sustainability Trends. What this means for us moving forward?
As we step into a new decade, we begin to look back in retrospect and pick apart our actions, behaviour and what we've created as a society. We can feel the cogs start to slow and in fact reverse. People are becoming more socially aware of the diverse environmental impacts we are having on the planet as a collective.
In 2019, environmental disasters and social upheaval held a mirror to humanity’s inability to safeguard both environment and people, leading many to question if the global systems in place were still relevant or viable.
Here's some trends and changes we might see take hold this year;
Climate change will force business change:
At some point in every business value chain there is a crossroad with nature and the ignorance to the impact of these crossroads has been displaced too much over the last few years. There is nowhere to hide and no excuse to do so anymore and 2020 is the year that businesses will be forced to stop ignoring the signs as their bottom lines decline whether directly or indirectly related to climate change.
A mixture of social responsibility, shifts in management, technology adoption, consumer awareness and consumer loyalty combined have got us to a critical mass for changing business models in order to address their damage on our climate.
Climate change is ‘a clear and unequivocal emergency’, according to a study endorsed by 11,000 scientists in November. To protect the Earth people need to consume less and waste less. In the UK, 62% of people think climate change is the biggest threat to civilisation. People’s actions speak louder than their words and they are spending their money on eco-friendly brands and products.
Consumption upgrades for all citizens, encouraging them to buy and aspire to better quality, more expensive goods and services. Globally, it's suspect that we’re going to see a consumption upgrade of another kind, one that doesn’t encourage people to buy more premium products but to buy more thoughtfully, more sparingly and sustainably.
Consumers will seek greater understanding of the term sustainability in 2020, and concepts like soil health and regenerative agriculture could gain traction, according to the forecast. The IFIC Foundation’s 2019 Food and Health Survey found 63% of respondents said it was hard to know whether the food choices they make are sustainable, and 63% said environmental sustainability would have a greater influence on their choices if it were easier to know.
People in 2020 will become more concerned about the role the food system plays in climate change, including the effects of agricultural production, food waste and transportation of goods. Wildfires, hurricanes and polar ice loss are driving concern about climate change. Environmental concerns will continue to drive greater adoption of plant-based foods.
Changes to energy production:
One of the most talked about sustainability trends is reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are nonrenewable sources of energy and are the leading contributor to climate change. In the United States, they’re to blame for more than 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions — and 98 percent of CO2 emissions alone.
Australia is the 3rd largest exporter of coal in the world, and 60% of our energy is powered by coal plants. This is seen to be one of the biggest contributors to fossil fuels and global warming. As of 2017, fossil fuels accounted for 80 percent of the energy in the US.
This is a promising reminder of the fact that collective efforts to invest in and improve our energy infrastructure are having a meaningful impact, and many of you felt hopeful that solar and wind energy will become far more commonplace in the next decade.
Regenerative agriculture is defined as a system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystem services - is an antidote to our current depletion of topsoil.
While many were focused on plant based eating trends, others felt that regenerative agriculture, to support both plants and livestock production, is the more important game changing wave of progress.
Thoughts are that there are only 60 years left of top soil on this earth, and if we do not take a step toward regenerative farming. We could see the demise of nutritious food. We've seen how big agricultural companies abused the traditional family farm, and their land. Without our top soil, we have no food. Without food, we have nothing as humans.
Regenerative Agriculture aims to capture carbon in soil and aboveground biomass, meaning that it can feed the planet while simultaneously reversing current global trends of atmospheric accumulation.