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September 24, 2009
Twenty Trends for Sustainability in 2009-10
Becky Willan
Head of Strategy
Here is a list of 20 sustainability trends that are changing the business landscape. We’re keeping our eyes on these…
*1. From* economic collapse to a green economic recovery.
Interest in all things “green” continues to grow as the economy sinks. About 34 percent of people arenow more likely to buy environmentally responsible products and 44 percent of consumers indicate their environmental shopping habits have not changed as a result of the economy (Cone Consumer environmental survey 2009).
Sustainability is coming into its own as a force to drive competitiveness. This development is substantiated by the stabilization of green jobs while others have collapsed(Environmental Leader 2009). Businesses are increasingly realizing the ability to minimize costs through environmentally conscious operations – boosting profits, developing brand value and building a strong position to beat less adaptive competitors when the recession ends.
*2. From* carbon footprint confusion to footprint awareness.
More than half of the global population is aware of the term“carbon footprint,” up from 38 percent in 2007. U.S. consumers fall behind the UK in awareness – 96 percent of UK adults say they are aware of the term and many of us have used a carbon footprint online calculator. As this awareness grows, it is likely that consumers will drive the sustainability market by demanding low carbon products.
3. From carbon offset doubt to market development.
Morecompanies will continue to offset carbon emissions. Point Carbon’s Market Outlook expects the global carbon offset market to grow 20 percent in terms of volume in 2009. They forecast that 5.9 gigatons (Gt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) will trade this year, compared to 4.9 Gt in 2008. Despite this prediction, Clownfish hope that there will be a stronger trend for direct reductions rather thanoffsetting, as the old saying goes, “prevention is better than cure.”
*4. From* carbon-centric to water-centric.
The UK has become obsessed with carbon footprints, but now the term water footprint has entered the corporate vocabulary. About 2.6 billion people have no access to clean water (FairHome 2008), a problem not isolated to developing countries. This has pushed water issues up theenvironmental agenda, and will become a new focus for 2009-10. European legislation is changing to achieve the Water Framework Directive’s aim to have good or high quality water in the whole European Union by 2015. Businesses will no longer be able to ignore their water use and efficiency.
*5. From* direct water use to embedded water use.
There is an increasing focus on embedded water use,which will only continue in 2009.
According to Waterwise, the average person in the UK directly uses about 150 liters of water per day. But behind this direct use there is an indirect use, which is about 23 times higher at 3400 liters per day. Of those 3,400 liters, 31 percent is embedded in industrial goods and 65 percent embedded in food, with the other 4 percent relating to drinking water andwater used for domestic purposes. To reduce this indirect usage, consumers will be calling on businesses to make changes to their products.
*6. From* high-energy use light-bulbs to light-sensors.
A recent survey of over 2000 lighting and electrical experts has found that occupancy sensors are the most recommended energy saving office tool. Among new building projects surveyed in the past twoyears, occupancy sensors were recommended in 55 percent of applications, which can save an average of 30 percent in lighting costs. Expect more companies to be adopting energy saving techniques this year, particularly as companies tighten their purse strings in the recession and energy bills continue to fluctuate.
*7. From* cheap to costly carbon car taxes.
European taxes on carbon...
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