Protecting the world we live in, and leaving it a better place for the future is something that is a global concern for individuals and businesses alike. Governments and influential industry leaders have been taking on the challenge of identifying the issues, devising strategies, and implementing solutions in order to prevent the damage from becoming permanent.
But there’s only so much that can be done at a discussive level, it takes the involvement of everyone to make real and impactful change, and as business owners and managers, it’s important that we understand what areas of sustainability still need work, and how our actions can, even on a small scale, make a lasting difference.
When it comes to issues facing sustainability, there are a variety of areas that need to be addressed, some apply to all businesses and industries, and others are more focused on specific areas – but without a conscious understanding of the impact, and a determination to put more eco-friendly practices in place, these niche problems aren’t going to stay that way – they will eventually affect us all.
What are the Major Sustainability Challenges?
Starting with an overarching look at the topic, the main sustainability challenges that are affecting the environment are:
- Climate change
- Loss of biodiversity
These issues may not impact the day-to-day running of a business, but they do have a cumulative negative effect which can, and does, cost money – for example, air pollution can make locations less desirable to work in (reducing available talent), incur greater levels of sickness (causing more absences and reduced productivity), and reduce consumer footfall (leading to less sales).
Businesses that seek to reduce their pollutants, and the amount of harmful waste expelled into the air, are actively doing their part to address these issues; which from an ethical standpoint, is the right thing to do. But we all know that businesses have to make money to survive, and ethics alone isn’t a compelling reason; 50% of global consumers now say they have become more eco-friendly in the last six months and 85% of people have shifted their purchase behaviours towards being more sustainable in the last 5 years – being eco-friendly is marketable, saleable, and ultimately profitable.
What Issues are Facing Sustainable Investing?
Investors often seek out sustainable business for their investment opportunities, and in the last two years the value in major financial markets of sustainable investments has increased by around 15% – but despite this growth, there are major challenges to the practice, mainly:
- Issues with the transparency and traceability of supply chains
- Net Zero and Scope 3 emissions
- Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) being upheld across the business and value chain
- Transparency and adherence to nature-positive approaches and regenerative agriculture