What are some of the environmental trends in business now?
Many businesses are starting to recognise the importance of setting sustainability goals. Customers have higher expectations of companies, and increasing government regulations have pushed sustainability and environmental issues to the top of the priority list for many countries across the globe.
More people are starting to pay closer attention to the environmental impact of products and services that they use. This is in response to the reality of climate change and a growing cultural awareness of the importance of the health of the planet for our own wellbeing.
More businesses than ever before are developing a net zero strategy to help them shrink their carbon footprint. After all, becoming greener also makes good business sense. The more environmentally responsible a brand is, the more likely they are to outperform their less sustainable competitors. Let's explore some of the latest environmental trends in businesses right now.
What are environmental trends in business?
We’re seeing more businesses being judged on the contribution they make to society, and being rewarded for doing good. The clothing brand Patagonia is a really good example of this. In September 2022, the company announced that 100% of its profits would go towards fighting climate change. The company wanted to show that you could do good for people and the planet and still be a successful business. Their track record shows us that customers value their sustainable and responsible business model. The brand is incredibly successful, even though it has strong environmental and social goals. Patagonia proves that both profit and sustainability can exist at the same time.
Taking an ethical and environmentally friendly approach to business is an important part of today's corporate social responsibility. Environmental trends are driven by regulations, industry standards and social pressure. Businesses now need to keep on top of the latest environmental issues and provide meaningful solutions as part of the way they do business and in the products and services they offer.
Why are environmental trends important in business?
Becoming greener and more sustainable is more important than ever. Recent studies show that more than 70% of customers consider whether a product is sustainable before they buy it. Being considerate of your business’ impact on the planet shows customers that you’re a responsible company that cares about the world around them.
Making a business more sustainable starts with being aware of the current issues, understanding the importance of making changes and putting in place potential solutions. Being aware of environmental trends in business can help you attract new customers, cut costs and become more efficient. Positioning your business as environmentally friendly can help set it apart from competitors and attract the growing number of customers who are looking to buy their products and services from environmentally responsible businesses.
What are some examples of environmental trends?
To help you stay ahead of the game and build sustainability into the way you do business, here are some examples of recent environmental trends you need to know about:
Commitments to net zero carbon and emissions
A growing number of countries are announcing their commitment towards reaching net zero emissions by 2050. They’ll do this by balancing the amount of carbon their country emits against the amount of carbon that they take out of the atmosphere. By reaching global net zero emissions, we’ll be stopping the greenhouse gas problem and making sure it doesn’t get worse, which will be crucial for the planet's future. Companies are taking a big role in these national and international net zero goals, with more businesses setting their own net zero carbon goals to do their part.
Embracing climate positive
While many businesses are already working towards carbon offsetting and are committed to achieving net zero, climate positivity is expected to be a more popular route for businesses to take in their sustainability efforts. Carbon positivity is a way of creating an environmental benefit by removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This can be anything from carbon capture and removal to planting trees and investing in regenerative agriculture. Climate positive goes beyond net zero and focuses on actively having a positive impact on the environment, rather than minimising the impact your business makes.
Growth in sustainable products
Sustainable products are one of the most popular environmental trends. Everything from fashion, lifestyle products and even food is set to be more sustainable.
The pandemic saw locally sourced ingredients become even more important among consumers, with concerns about sustainability being a driving force behind this change. Because local food has less distance to travel it has a lower environmental impact, and because of growing consumer awareness about sustainability this trend is set to continue. With a smaller carbon footprint, locally sourced produce and sustainable products create a smaller environmental impact. More people are switching to clothing and lifestyle brands with a better environmental and socially conscious reputation.
Alongside a growth in sustainable products, greener packaging is set to become an important environmental trend. Packing waste has a huge impact on the environment with lots of it ending up in landfills.
Plastic and non-recyclable packaging has been used for a long time across the world, but this is rapidly changing, with many countries bringing in strict rules around single-use plastics. Many companies are already switching to more environmentally friendly alternatives, while others are introducing waste reduction and recycling programmes to stop packing waste ending up in landfill.
Rise in demand for electric vehicles
The number of electric vehicles on the road has grown as people look for cleaner transport alternatives. As the environment continues to be a priority, electric vehicles are set to be a trend that will only continue growing until all motorists have switched from petrol and diesel to electric. Plus, with the UK set to stop all sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, driving electric will become the norm.
Schemes like our EV salary sacrifice scheme make it easier to own an electric vehicle and can help significantly reduce your business's carbon footprint.
Reducing customer and business waste
Unfortunately, the environment can’t handle the amount of waste that individuals and businesses produce. Actively reducing waste by minimising or getting rid of packaging all together, and increasing digitisation (like sending documents online rather than by post and moving to paperless systems) will continue to be a key goal of sustainability initiatives.
Working from home
While remote working reached new heights during the pandemic, it's also one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways for businesses to save energy. Working at home for all or part of the week means less energy is spent in the physical workplace on lighting, heating and electricity. It also means fewer diesel or petrol cars on the road polluting the environment.
Sourcing renewable energy
With solar and wind energy expected to continue getting cheaper, more businesses are expected to focus on their energy sourcing and look to switch from fossil fuel to more sustainable forms of energy.
As the impact of global warming is seen more widely, environmental trends in business take on even more importance. If you want to reduce your business's carbon footprint and help your employees be more environmentally responsible, lead the charge against climate change by following these trends.
Why not make a start today by helping your team switch to electricity with our EV salary sacrifice scheme?