Sustainability is quite a subjective term, isn’t it? It is still an evolving concept and can mean different things to different people. However, as we progress into a better part of the decade (hopefully), we must pay attention to all aspects and pillars of sustainability; more than four of them if need be. Increasingly it is expected organisations address these in their sustainability reports and ESG reports.
1. Sustainability as a big part of doing business - With climate change at the edge of our doorsteps, companies and businesses will be asked to show their efforts put in to make the world more sustainable. Reducing carbon emissions, adopting green, eco-friendly practices and making sure people are also taken into account, will be a large part of the sustainable agenda for businesses. Not very far from now, sustainability will become a pivotal part of the entire value chain. From the sourcing of raw materials to the packaging and supply chain infrastructure, all of it will be transformed to achieve sustainable standards. This forces suppliers and customers to become a part of the sustainable ecosystem.
2. Innovation will be at the heart of sustainability - Apart from policies and pledges, companies will have to invest in innovation. Companies will have to innovate if economic growth and sustainability have to go hand in hand. Be it with things such as carbon taxes or even turning waste into high-end products, there will be enough motivation to drive innovation. Infact, we are already seeing some of it come to light.
3. Emergence of a circular economy - The world's population is expected to increase by 2 billion persons in the next 30 years, from 7.7 billion currently to 9.7 billion in 2050 and could peak at nearly 11 billion around 2100 (Growing at a slower pace, world population is expected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050 and could peak at nearly 11 billion around 2100, 2019). With such drastic increase in population, resources need to be used effectively. There is already a growing trend about the need to eliminate waste, reuse, recycle and renew. The concept of circular economy shouldn’t be restricted to just one industry. Rather, new partnerships and collaborations must be formed to ensure one industry’s waste is another’s raw material. This will be a great opportunity to reimagine the way the world works and also re-evaluate existing value chains.
4. Accountability and Transparency - When organisations take sustainability very seriously, accountability and transparency take centerstage. Organisations will consider how their production process affects the climate and seek to proactively find solutions to these problems. Consumers will also be more concerned about their personal carbon footprint and tread with caution when it comes to using products that are not produced sustainably.
Going forward, transparency and accountability will be the default approach for a business.