In 2022, expect to see sustainability making huge strides. With old businesses recovering from the pandemic and new businesses popping up, there is a world of opportunity for sustainable practices to have a huge impact this year and looking further beyond. In a new working environment that has made organizations more employee-centric and self-aware, it begs the question, what are the biggest sustainable business trends for 2022 and how are they received by the new working generation?
Let us explore where our research has led us, looking at some low-hanging fruit as well as more strategic concepts to implement for a greener and cleaner future.
Powering Your Business with Green Energy
The US started building wind farms and integrating green energy into the grid back in 1975, but even all the way back then, almost a half-century ago, it was hard to imagine that renewables would one day take over. Now in 2022, whilst they may not have overtaken fossil fuels in terms of contribution, green energy sources have overtaken them in competitive pricing in many places. Over the last decade, wind and solar energy is as much as 90% cheaper thanks to technological advances and better production methods for the infrastructure.
By 2025, it’s expected that renewables will be both cheaper and larger than fossil fuels in the US. Armed with this prediction, your business can begin looking into ways to make the transition by assessing the premises, fleet, supply chain, and transport used for employees. The renewable technology learning curve can perfectly align with your business’ energy needs and sustainable decision-making.
Paperless Processes & Offices
Could 2022 be the year we save the trees? Our research into sustainable business trends might suggest exactly that. The reality is that we’ve all subconsciously been working towards this moment for a long time. When you send an email, you save something from being printed. When you request a digital signature, you save paper AND benefit from a much faster turnaround time. When your invoicing system goes digital, the intray and out-tray get smaller and smaller until eventually, that paper holder can go in the bin (the recycling bin of course).
Paperless processes and offices offer numerous rewards to management, who can earn a reputation boost while benefiting the environment and realizing more physical space. Offering remote and hybrid positions naturally encourages less paper to be involved in the overall business process, as tools and software allow work to be done entirely with just a phone and computer.
ESG Investments & Policies
The scope of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) grows every year, but in 2022, the great foundational work done during the pandemic can be truly capitalized upon. A world of lockdowns and complications forced individuals and organizations to get creative, but in 2022, with more access to ESG investments that can drive real change, investors are paying close attention.
Many businesses, organizations, and investors are realizing that profits are not always realized directly and that non-financial aspects may hold equal weight. Making the world a better place is starting to be seen as a great investment, and if successful, the long-term rewards can be enjoyed by all. For your business to take part, it must consider how much of its disposable assets can be used to make a meaningful contribution to progress.
Of course, ESG is not all about spending. In fact, sometimes the most sustainable thing to do is cut spending and look at where outgoings can be optimised and reallocated through progressive policies. This extract from our recent Transformative Leadership Report (Defense and Space) gives a clear insight into how we see ESG policies and strategies taking root through leadership values:
“We give meaning to our actions by reimagining and reinventing ourselves. We thrive through collective responsibility. For business leaders in an ESG-centric postpandemic world, this can mean gearing towards circular economy models. Finding profitable growth in a circular economy requires a change in leadership mindset and hierarchies.”
Simulated Experiences & App-Based Learning
Why bring numerous people from all over the country to an event that could be held digitally? What’s the benefit of creating countless physical resources that could be applied and interacted with through software and apps?
Asking these big questions is critical to modern businesses that are focusing on sustainability. While there are somle clear advantages of remote learning, it does work best on top of an in-person foundation where true connections can be forged and experiences can be had. A blended learning approach that utilizes the benefits of face-to-face experiences with the power of digital opportunities while helping to reduce your company’s carbon footprint offers a win-win situation for your
Find out more about our simulations and experiential learning method here.
The Hybrid Office - Perfect for 2022
Working from home was forced upon hundreds of millions at the start of the pandemic, but guess what? Most loved it! More flexibility, no commute, eat your own food, work from a comfortable spot, and play your own music in the background… What's not to like? The reality is that it didn’t work for everyone. Many found it isolating and hard to focus, whilst many businesses struggled to manage their employees and lost sight of their working community.
As the return to the office picks up pace, many workers are showing their resistance, fighting to the right to stay remote, or the ability to work in a hybrid way. A majority of organizations are seeing the clear benefits of the hybrid working model, no less through the lens of sustainability.
Businesses are able to downsize their offices, cut the carbon footprint of employees, and make numerous savings on resources. Whilst the employee footprint is only a minor factor when weighed against the footprint of operations, it is still seen as an area when savings are positive, even if challenging to measure. As organizations look at ways to state and achieve net-zero emissions, downsizing their premises and reduce the emissions of their employees is something of a low-hanging fruit and gives further credit to the hybrid office model for 2022 and beyond.
Making sustainable changes involves good communication, willpower, and opportunistic thinking to spot the best ideas. Encourage creativity, collaboration, and transparency among the management team in order to find the optimal short and long-term ways to become more sustainable. Ask employees at all levels for their contributions towards sustainable thinking too.
If you’re interested in the innovative method of integrating simulation technologies into your business plan and sustainability strategy, get in touch today.