Sustainability Trends 2020
Controlled and regulated economies towards Net Positive results
The world confronts an urgent carbon problem, that has been changing its climate. The temperature of the planet has already risen by 1 degree centigrade. If we don’t curb emissions and temperatures continue to climb, the results will be catastrophic. The world must take urgent action to bring down emissions. Net positive results refer to maximum reduction of carbon emission. This will call for developing and implementing new technologies, innovation, public policies, planting trees, etc.
Innovation and New Technology
The 4th industrial revolution is happening. Technology is developing so fast that humans are not even able to perceive it rationally. Innovations and new technologies will disrupt many industries and the biggest effect we will be able to see in the following 15 years.
Clean and Renewable Energy
Renewable energy often provides energy in four important areas: electricity generation, air and water heating/cooling, transportation, and rural (off-grid) energy services. More than 150 years ago, wood supplied up to 90 percent of the energy needs. In 2017, worldwide investments in renewable energy amounted to USD 280B with China accounting for 45% of the global investments, followed by the United States and Europe with 15% each. Globally there are estimated 7.7 million jobs associated with the renewable energy industries. Some places and at least two countries, Iceland and Norway, already generate all their electricity using renewable energy , and many other countries have set a goal to reach 100% renewable energy in the future.
A circular economy (often referred to simply as “circularity”) is an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and continual use of resources. It’s seen as one of the most important element in sustainable development.
Big Data collection and data use can optimise operations and efficiencies. Governments and private sector might heavily depend on the Big Five (Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft), as these continue growing.
One of the main disruptions in the last 5 years was digitalisation. This is one of the main stream pillars of the 4th industrial revolution that will continue to shake all industries.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Machine learning is getting more and more present in all stages of a life cycle of products in all industries.
While the population continues to grow and the governments introduce the carbon footprint regulations, smart cities are the focus of the society. Today, over 70% of the population live in the cities and this will continue to grow over the next years. The interest of everybody is to introduce various regulations for energy sources optimisation, eco-friendly solutions and innovation, controlled pollution, etc.
Shared mobility and Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles are expected to increase from 2% of global share in 2016 to 22% in 2030. As the infrastructure comes in place this industry will see huge expansion.
Alternative prime materials to replace traditional plastic sources
Reducing the use of single use plastic in all sectors and industries has become the main trend both on the private and public level, through various polices and regulations. This has awakened creativity and given a chance to start-up businesses to come up with prime material solutions. Today, we can hear more and more about sustainable fashion, bamboo becoming a new gold, or about bio-degradable and compostable packaging in the food industry (that alone generates 43% of the global plastic production).
Conscious consumers, Zero Waste movements, Minimalism are all growing concepts. Consumers are changing their behaviour and becoming more conscious. Today, we can see more and more crowdfunding platforms to encourage and enable more business practices that are ethically and purpose driven.
In 2019, the young got their 5 minutes of fame with Greta Thunberg winning the media spotlights. The young have started getting more space and freedom to express themselves/express their opinions and ideas and act
Women in Business
Despite notable progress over the recent years, female executives remain underrepresented in the C-suite. Firms with female CEOs and CFOs have produced superior stock price performance, compared to the market average. The financial future is female.
Focus on developing countries and New markets
The best time to invest in Africa is now. However, foreign investors have not moved into the continent as quickly as expected because of high level of risk involved. Nevertheless, risks and profits are twins: high-risk is associated with higher profits. Africa’s large deposits of natural resources promise a bright future for developing value chains. Africa’s young population contributes to an abundance of labor, which is one of the region’s highest potentials for labor-intensive industrialization, and lowers production costs, leading to benefits that far outweigh the cost of doing business on the continent.