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Top trends in sustainability 2022

2022 sustainability trends and groupings

Recent trends in sustainability focus on decreasing the carbon footprint, replacing non-sustainable materials with new alternatives and fulfilling reporting requirements.

Business concepts relating to the circular economy and the reuse of waste are also gaining a lot of attention.

After investigating the industry from multiple different perspectives, we’ve noticed these 4 main areas:

Monitoring & reporting

Materials

Carbon footprint

Circular economy

Investment in sustainability

Global € investment in sustainable development. Data from Catapult’s datapool. (Hover to see investment amounts)

Looking at the graph above, (and even without looking at it) it’s obvious that there has been an increase in interest in sustainability in the recent years. The growth has been constant, yet moderate. However, we can really see a difference in 2020-2021. The investment nearly doubles in one year, from €30B to €55B. (hover to see investment amounts)

2021 was a tremendous year of change in sustainability and it seems to continue in 2022. The industry is changing rapidly and the only way to stay on top of trends is to constantly analyse the market and be agile.

Let’s dive deeper into these trends!

Monitoring & reporting

Monitoring and reporting can get complex within sustainability. There are multiple areas a company needs to cover. Not only for internal but also for external communication.

With pressure coming from stakeholders, these are the current trends within sustainability monitoring & reporting:

Materials

A highly important aspect of sustainability is the materials that are being used. People are becoming more conscious about their decisions. The material of a product is tangible enough for them to try to assess its sustainability without further research.

However, the material of a product doesn’t portray a product’s sustainability in its entirety and can even backlash if seen as greenwashing.

Nevertheless, here are the top trends within sustainable materials:

Carbon footprint

Carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases generated by our actions. A company can measure this to communicate about its sustainability strategies to its stakeholders.

On top of measuring, there are actions a company can take to reduce its carbon footprint. Here are the top trends currently in carbon footprint:

Circular economy

Circular economy is a concept which aims to optimise the usage of goods. It is based on three principles: reduce, reuse, recycle. However, it doesn’t really have a universally-accepted definition.

Recently, players in the industry have been heavily focusing on these four areas within circular economy:

What to do with this information?

Well, you could carry on doing what you’ve always done. OR…

You could take this information and put it to use. Who knows, you might make your work easier and improve your company’s operations!

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