Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) and Sustainability are two key topics that we’ve been hearing about for some time now, and as new targets are discussed and agreed, and more global co-operation is aimed at in terms of reaching them – it may feel as if sustainable development has become a bit of a tired topic, one that businesses are fatigued of hearing about and dealing with.
Be that as it may, there is still a lot of work to be done, and sustainable development continues to remain a business-critical topic, both in terms of how a business operates (with production methods and manufacture, supply chains and delivery, etc), and how it functions (in regard to attracting and retaining custom).
Year upon year, the number of companies (globally) reporting on their sustainable actions continues to grow, in 2002, only 18% of N100 companies and 45% of G250 companies reported their findings, by 2020 this had increased to 80% and 96% (respectively).
There is still a considerable disconnect between the idea of action, and actual movement; 90% of business leaders think that sustainability is important, but only 60% of companies have an actual sustainability strategy in place.
What Sustainability Topics are Trending in 2023?
As the push for further action and green eco-friendly change continues, new trends inspired by the new year and a new resolve are expected to make waves, this is on top of the existing trends that have established themselves as long term industry adjusters – or trends that don’t quit.
Some of the trends expected to make an impact include:
Increased Digital Transformation
We all know that the digital world moves incredibly fast, and as new innovations and technological developments, such as improved AI, VR and AR, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT), make the world a digitally connected, and far smaller place – businesses will need to consider how best to leverage this technology, and utilise it to decrease their environmentally unfriendly impact.
These technologies can be leveraged both internally within the structure of a business, and externally with customers – from holding digital meetings instead of in-person gatherings, to providing online customer support, or technologically augmented in-home views (such as AR previews of furniture in the customer’s living room) – making use of technology can have a profound impact on the environment.
Supply Chain Security and the Impact of Inflation
Economically, the world is still struggling through recessions and adverse financial times, and 2023 looks set to continue being difficult. Businesses have to improve their resilience, structure their supply chains appropriately, and balance environmental needs with operational costs.
For some businesses, this may mean a total re-evaluation of how their operating processes and supply chain run, and for others – it may mean deciding on making their strategies longer term, and reach sustainable goals through the use of offsetting.
Dedicated ESG and Sustainability Reporting
Although not currently mandatory in every country, there are movements and governmental discussions underway across the globe to make ESG and Sustainability reporting required. In the EU, a new directive has set stronger rules and requirements, and has required a much broader set of large companies and SMEs to be required to report, approximately 50,000 in total.
As more focus is given to responsible business, and the importance of knowing exactly what impact you’re having – you can expect ESG and Sustainability reporting to become more important, and more likely to be required in the future.
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Sustainability is a topic that has seen a lot of mileage, as well as targets created, revised, reviewed, and re-advertised. The general consensus from both global governments and industries, is that wore work has to be done – and there is no time to sit back and wait to see what comes next.
Even with new targets being set for 2030 and 2050, there is still widespread concern that these will be missed, and the damage to the planet is rapidly reaching the point where it cannot be undone. Customers, investors, and governments are all expressing concern over how businesses conduct themselves, and what they’re doing to reduce any harmful environmental impacts they’re having.
In order to survive, thrive, and grow in this current world environment, being committed to sustainable development and innovations is essential, and knowing where those innovations are going to take your industry will be crucial.
You may be tired of hearing about sustainability, and how you need to do better – and be better; but the plain fact is, that until everyone is doing and being better, sustainability, as a hot topic, is not going to fade away.