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Toby Howell BA PGDip

An Introduction To Everything You Need To Know About Sustainability

May 2022

SUMMARY:

1. Thinktanks, scientists and environmentalists are all saying the same thing; it's now or never. We must act to save our planet. 

2. Pressures from government and consumers are leading businesses to adopt stricter sustainable strategies. 

3. Net-Zero is emerging as one of the most significant corporate trends to combat climate change.


Re-discover the importance of sustainability in our modern age and identify ways you can be more green in our latest blog.

It's the buzzword right now. Sustainability. The United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development define it as: “meet[ing] the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

In our everyday lives, we hear references to climate change, carbon footprints and CO2 emissions every day if you look in the right places. We are beginning to read, watch and hear about the different solutions to climate change, such as carbon offsetting, renewable energies and greener practices.

But it’s important to not lose focus on why we are here. Let's take a step back and analyse the importance of sustainability. This blog will investigate why, at this point, it is widely considered one of the most critical topics in the history of Planet Earth. We will also look at the most efficient ways to combat climate change on a personal level, so we can take the fight head on. 

Why is sustainability important?

At our current emissions rate, humanity will fail to maintain Earth's ecosystems. If nothing changes, society will likely eliminate all fossil fuels, and many animal species will become extinct. The atmosphere will eventually become irreparably damaged and could become too polluted for humans to inhabit.

Timeframes vary, however the International Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) published a report, in which ninety climate scientists from forty countries have all agreed that the world has approximately twenty years until the damage becomes completely irreversible.

The report warns that emission must be cut down by over 40% by 2040. This is a looming deadline and news outlets around the world are intensifying their coverage on the issue and those who seemingly ignore it.

What is the next step?

To know where to go in future, let's take a quick look at how we got here.

Astutis Managing Director Steve Terry suggested sustainability has always been a three-headed horse; consisting of three intertwined elements. These are:

  • Environmental: Planet
  • Economical: Profit
  • Social: People

These elements factor into everything we do relating to the environment. However, this does not mean they have been practised equally or positively for the planet. In fact, global leaders have essentially said the exact opposite. 

This isn't just emerging now. As far back as the turn of the century, the press investigated the impact of big business on the environment. 

It doesn’t take a huge investigation to realise business has firmly put impetus on economical sustainability. The bottom line of business is money, upping the share price and protecting the interest of stake/shareholders. Corporate attitudes change as environmental awareness grows and the pressure that comes from it. 

The mounting pressure to take action against climate change has led to some accusations of greenwashing. The New Climate Institute released a report in early 2022 which claimed a number of the biggest companies in the world continue to fall short of their environmental targets.

If these allegations are true, this is a severe problem. Big business accounts for an overly large portion of CO2 emissions, and not meeting the target will mean not achieving Net-Zero. 

Net-Zero is an alternative method to combat climate change. Businesses around the globe are pledging to produce Net-Zero carbon emissions by 2050. The emergence of carbon offsetting means that pressure to reduce emissions is elevated by investing in green projects designed to counter emissions.

Trends and attitudes towards big business suggest this is how the future looks for companies worldwide. Consumers are beginning to boycott companies they deem lazy in their efforts to combat climate change. Therefore, if companies aren't seen to be doing enough, they risk backlash from their customers and environmental groups - the risk is not worth it. And if the stakes couldn't get higher, according to The Economist, there is an upward trend of lawsuits targeted at greenhouse gas emissions.

What can I do to combat Climate Change?

One of the most important things to consider when considering how you can help is understanding that, at this point, going through with it is vitally essential. It seems obvious and not worth mentioning; however, half measures are not enough anymore. 

  • Changing to renewably sourced energies. Some people chose a zero-carbon backed electricity tariff. Innovations such as low carbon heating are changing how people can live their lives. 
  • Consider using electric cars.
  • Analyse your energy consumption. After looking at how it's used, how does it make you feel? 
  • Remember to investigate why your energy/heating usage might be the way it is. Are your windows and doors insulating properly?
  • Think about whether your lifestyle would suit Solar Energy. Solar panels can save homeowners a significant amount of their energy bills.
  • Consider whether you are determined to consider carbon-free homes. This is a considerable commitment and requires a significant amount of thought. However, these homes could supposedly cut fuel bills by 90% and heating requirements by 75% compared to modern housing

Final Takeaways:

1, The time for action has passed, and society is behind schedule in repairing the health of Planet Earth.

2, Big Business is under more pressure than ever to change their model and become greener. Investigations have alleged greenwashing has been rife but is on a downward trend. 

3, Individuals can revolutionise their homes and lifestyle to become carbon-free and dramatically lessen their impact. Implementing more innovative carbon-free energy resources and solar energies are the most widespread methods. 

 

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