In the current economic climate, the main aim is to return the world back to the way things were before the pandemic began. Going back to what was ‘normal’ seems to be at the top of everyone’s wishes. But what if instead of returning to what was normal, a new normal is created that puts sustainability at the heart of everything, both in business and society.
Most people are aware that we need to make big changes, so instead of changing back to normal, we can use this as an opportunity to move forwards, and address, another global emergency…. climate change.
The drastic decrease in global CO2 emissions is one of the very few silver linings that have come from Covid-19. The demand for energy across the world has fallen due to the reduction in transport use and large scale industrial inactivity, resulting in dramatic falls in carbon emissions (Carbon Brief, 2020). But, without change to the way businesses and the economy are run, emissions will quickly return to the levels experienced before lockdown, as the world economies restart (Carbon Brief, 2020).
Scientists have predicted that due to the pandemic, that global emissions will fall between 4-8% this year. However, there needs to be a decrease of at least 5% each year in order to keep the global increase in temperature below 1.5 degrees and reach net zero emissions worldwide by 2050.
Looking forward, the question that need addressing is : how can we continue to reduce emissions when returning to business as usual? With the exit strategy for Covid-19 being imminent, there is the opportunity to use this as a catalyst for a recovery which supports the green economy and green energy sector. Further investment is needed in short and long-term strategies in order to grow these sectors, which in turn will bring job creation, innovation, as well as a reduction in CO2 emissions and air pollution (business green) if we are to reach net zero emissions (Forbes).
All businesses have been forced to change in order to adapt to Covid-19, and inevitably will have to make further changes when returning to business as usual. Businesses can use this as an opportunity to create or further develop their own sustainability strategy.
Policy change is coming in the near future, implementing a sustainability strategy will enable businesses to be ahead of the game in order to both stay competitive and to mitigate the threat that climate change will pose their business.