Sustainability Trends for 2024
Global temperatures rose in 2023, with every day exceeding 1.5°C above the 1850-1900 pre-industrial level for the first time on record.1 We are at high risk of crossing an irreversible points in Earth’s climate outlook. This means that in 2024, sustainability is more important than ever.
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Change of Focus
In 2024, we could see a turning point with ESG, with more focus on clarity and reliable data. This will help with decision making, in addition to ensuring policies are more transparent. There are also goals to standardise non-financial regular reporting, to make it easier for investors, stakeholders and consumers to evaluate performance, whilst businesses also need to provide more in-depth data, putting the responsibility of sustainability on businesses themselves rather than attempting to shift it elsewhere.
During the COP28 climate change conference, leaders authorised a “Health and Climate Change Declaration”, which emphasises the health implications of climate change, and the need to challenge these. With this global focus enforced from the top down, along with a health conscious generation paired with more knowledge on the risks of climate change on our health, we will likely see more of a focus on how increasing sustainability will positively help health.
As temperatures rise there is special concern on water quality water and the spread of infectious diseases, both made worse by climate change and global warming.
Fossil Fuel Usage Decline
In the UN’s COP28 climate change conference in December 2023, the government agreed to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels. We are more than equipped to replace fossil fuels with current technology, and over the last few years there’s been a rise in demand for clean energy and less demand for coal, oil, and gas; the world collectively added 510 billion watts of renewable energy capacity in 2023.2
By focusing on clean energy, global emissions can be reduced and we can reap the rewards of renewable energy.
Global Plastic Ban
175 nations have signed a treaty agreement to end plastic pollution, which will impact the life cycle of plastics and how they’re used. It is the first legally binding international effort that will aid the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions created from plastic pollution.
This year, we estimate that along with the enforced treaty agreement, we will see a rise in individual efforts to reduce the plastic that we use by opting for alternatives and plastic purchasing.
AI Governance & Optimisation
Due to the rise of AI, companies and governments may face increased pressure to ensure AI governance, to manage and mitigate risks. Additionally, AI will continue to be adopted to create new operational efficiencies and track environmental concerns.
The outlook is positive for 2024, however it still requires our full concentration. In order to turn around the globe’s future, we need to continue to make positive changes that will affect this generation and those of the future.