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5 sustainability and social impact trends that should be watched in 2022

In so many ways, 2021 was a seismic year for sustainability and social impact. From a global pandemic to raging wildfires and the changing face of both work and wellbeing, the last 12 months will have a legacy that lasts far beyond COVID-19.

Here are 5 trends that came out of 2022 that all sustainability/CSR professionals need to know about:

The threat of climate change has new urgency.

First came the bushfires that devastated Australia. Then a spate of severe storms and tropical cyclones swept the U.S. and Asia, followed by floods and searing heat. 2020 broke all sorts of unwelcome weather records, destroying properties, businesses, and lives—all of which gave the threat from climate change a brand new urgency for both individuals and companies. 81 percent of Americans accept that the Earth’s temperature is increasing — the highest level since 1996 like Job Provider in Chicago.  

Investors have begun to reframe risk.

“The evidence on climate risk is compelling investors to reassess core assumptions about modern finance,” wrote Larry Fink, chairman, and CEO of BlackRock, in a letter to fellow business leaders in January. In particular, Fink pointed out. There is increasing acknowledgment that climate risk equals investment risk. 

This awareness is changing the shape of investments, with environmental, social, governance (ESG) becoming core criteria for many investors, leading to brand new opportunities for people, products, and services that boost the planet and line investors’ pockets. 

Changes In Energy Production

With the renewables industry expected to make a comeback post-pandemic, one of the most popular sustainability trends is reducing dependence on fossil fuels. Renewables now make up 11 percent of the energy in the US, proof that investments and improvements to the renewables industry have made an impact. Not only are large-scale solar and wind farms promising, but there is also a growing trend towards micro-generation of electricity in homes. Additionally, renewable energy is increasingly affordable, enabling businesses and individuals to invest in renewable energy easily.

Demand For Plant-Based Foods Increase Due To Environmental Benefits

Another popular sustainability trend is the plant-based diet. The Beyond Meat and Impossible Burgers have earned menu spots at vegan and non-vegan restaurants alike. Veggie meat, tofu, and tempeh are now popular supermarket items, and food delivery app GrubHub released data showing that orders for plant-based and vegan food are at an all-time high. This is due to consumer concern with the meat industry – the animal cruelty side and the environmental impact. In the United States alone, agriculture and forestry accounted for 9.0 percent of 2017 US greenhouse gas emissions 2017. 

The corporate world looks to lead on climate policy

A combination of consumer demand, plus the genuine impact of climate change on supply chains, manufacturing, and distribution, has led to a brand-new interest from big businesses in weighing in on climate policy issues, both within the business and within government public policy. 

The upshot of all these broader trends? There has never been a better time to be, or become, sustainability and Social Impact Job Provider. According to one survey, 88 percent of top executives said they understand that now more than ever, companies must lead with purpose. In contrast, three-quarters of sustainability professionals say they’ve seen increased responsibilities and expectations from leadership since the pandemic.