Needless to say, 2022 has been a challenging year. As we gradually emerge from COVID-19 restrictions and cracks in our economy, societies and environmental ambitions are becoming more important than ever. Many of us had hoped that the strong connections we built to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic could be translated into action for Net Zero. But the UN’s environment agency recently warned us there is “no credible pathway to 1.5C in place” despite legally binding promises made at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference.
Their latest report tells us in cold scientific terms that we have to stop filling our atmosphere with greenhouse gases, and we need to stop doing it fast. This report has led to reflection on the impact we make through our lives and our work - Are we doing enough or there is more could we do?
After COP27, for the first time, countries reached an historic decision. We now have a loss and damage fund for those nations most vulnerable to the climate crisis. This is certainly a step in the right direction.
Looking ahead to 2023, it seems the future may well play out differently from the past. Businesses will be expected to play a greater role in tackling critical issues from climate change and the challenges and opportunities ahead will be more important to investment performance than ever. Businesses will refocus on goals, including setting clear targets for sustainability and strategies to achieve these.
Over the past year, many organisations’ main focus has been protecting their staff, stakeholders and customers during a global pandemic and remaining financially stable during such uncertainty. This has led to the green agenda taking a back seat for many businesses.
In 2023, as many continue to recover from the setbacks of the pandemic, carbon offsetting will be a popular green initiative as it allows companies to contribute in a way that minimises disruption to their business during a critical time.
Regulation and political will
Although political momentum clearly slowed in 2022, the private sector will continue to push ahead, laying out plans to transition to Net Zero. On the other hand, this trend is playing out against a backdrop of an industry under more intense scrutiny and scepticism than ever. Regulation is spreading in the EU, and the demands for transparency and clarity in promises are likely to increase in 2023.
Conscious consumer demand will grow
In 2023 consumers will be more informed and aware than ever before and opt to spend their money with truly sustainable brands, especially during this cost-of-living crisis that has taken grip in many countries, including the UK. Businesses will begin to invest in more environmentally friendly practices, rather than risk losing market share to greener competitors.
Green Tech and machine learning
Investing in innovative clean and green technology is a great opportunity for businesses to reduce emissions, save costs in the long term and catch the attention of the digitally savvy consumer.
In 2023, it is anticipated that more and more businesses will invest in technology that supports the day-to-day running of their companies and helps achieve their sustainability goals.
Machine Learning provides a good starting point for implementation and automation of business processes, particularly where large amounts of data are already available.
What would you like to change in 2023?
For those of us focused on sustainability in the built environment, the last year has felt incredibly busy and challenging - and this is set to continue throughout 2023.
We look forward to helping businesses, particularly property sector practitioners, to harness the data they already have and leverage ‘smart’ technologies to enable their transition towards net zero carbon, in tandem with growth strategies.