Changing Business Trends in a Climate Changing Environment
With the implications of climate change shifting the entire planet toward a green economy, businesses are finding the need to make adjustments in order to maintain relevance with their consumers. Now the question becomes, will the push toward going green and eco-friendly solutions stay the trend in the global economy or simply be a blip on the radar.
Climate change, while under scrutiny for several decades, has come to the forefront of concern in recent years. In fact, last year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland highlighted the apprehension shared by the world. The UN’s Climate Change Report spelled out that humanity is at a “tipping point” and that immediate action is needed . Now as a result, consumers are putting their wallets behind their beliefs and convictions. So much so, that corporations large and small are starting to not only feel the crunch, but also see the need to pivot and strategize a “green” change in direction.
83% of Millennials Demand Sustainability from Companies
Source: Nielsen, The Evolution of the Sustainability Mindset
Consumer Trends for Eco-Friendly Products
When you stop to think about it, where do most retail trends start? The short answer is typically, “with consumers.” The desire to purchase goods and services, that are to some varying degree less harmful to the planet, is a trend that will no doubt remain constant. While this trend is something being driven by consumers, it is also part of three distinct eco-initiatives that businesses are noting in economic strategy.
Eco-friendly: Companies and products that show a commitment to a sustainable economy.
Recommerce: Reverse commerce is the buying and selling of pre-owned goods.
Zero Waste: The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of all products, packaging, and materials, without burning them, and without discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health. As defined by the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA).
With a dedicated target market that is willing to pay more for sustainable products, companies that are finding the will, are also finding the sales.
The Greening of the Economy
The shift to a green economy is no doubt already underway. A green economy is a relatively new term used to denote growth in income and employment driven by public and private economic investments in climate change reduction, the promotion of renewable energy sources and resource conservation and efficiency, as well as the prevention of the loss of biodiversity.
The Green Trends
The move toward achieving a green economy is clearly signaled by the emergence of green sectors within the economic landscape. The green sectors at the forefront of the economy are believed to be Renewable Energy, Green Buildings, Sustainable Transport, Water Management and Waste Management.
Green Sectors of the Economy
Now Hiring: Green Jobs!
With a green economy comes the need for green jobs, and plenty of them. As a matter of fact, the International Labor Organization (ILO) predicts that an estimated 18 million new green jobs could be created across the globe by 2030. The catch is we need to limit global warming to 2º by the end of the century in order to reach this number.
The next question becomes, who is going to work those new green jobs? The answer in this particular instance is green talent. As the name implies, green talent is a candidate with green abilities or knowledge needed to get the job done. The demand for talent with green skills continues to grow as corporations and governments begin to fulfill their own climate-focused goals. So far it seems the largest amount of green job growth has been in a variety of industries, from renewable energy production to biomass crop cultivation to transportation industries, all the way to areas you would not expect, like finance and fashion technologies.
The Grass Isn’t Always “Greener”
It’s not all roses in this new green economy. As reported by the New York Times, “rising temperatures are likely to reduce global wealth significantly by 2050.” They noted “the effects of climate change can be expected to shave 11 percent to 14 percent off global economic output by 2050 compared with growth levels without climate change, according to a report from Swiss Re, one of the world’s largest providers of insurance to other insurance companies. That amounts to as much as $23 trillion in reduced annual global economic output worldwide as a result of climate change .”
Combating Climate Change
Halting, not just limiting the imposed effects of climate change is believed to be more than just a government’s responsibility, but also a corporations. From small businesses to retailer chains, taking an active role now can help our tomorrow. Here are just a few ways companies big and small can combat climate change and help make a difference.
1. Use clean, renewable energy to power your business (wind, solar, hydro powered)
2. Educate your employees on how their decisions make an impact on the environment
3. Replace inefficient, outdated, or broken equipment with green energy or energy efficient options
4. Move to a paperless company with the use of servers or cloud-data storage
5. Utilize “green” suppliers for your products and services
6. Organize community cleanup/recycle drives
7. Require vendors to provide an annual report of their progress
8. Utilize technologies that improve sustainability practices
Moving Forward Together
The future of the economy and more importantly, the planet, will be determined by whether economies around the globe meet their climate goals. Regardless of how or what you believe, all industries will need to be moving in this direction together in order for us to achieve a green economy, and eventually our goal of climate change.
 The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, UN Climate Report 2021
 Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA)
 ILO calculations based on Exobase v3.
 New York Times, Online, April 2021
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