The State of Green Business 2023

Below are excerpts from GreenBiz Group’s 16th Annual State of Green Business, published today, exploring the sustainable business trends to watch in 2023. Download the report here.

“Stay on course.”

That could be the key message from the turbulent and confusing year of 2022. Everything the last 12 months have thrown at us — a pandemic still raging, a global recession, major supply chain chokepoints, political turmoil, climate — caused by Russia’s unilateral aggression in Ukraine. natural disasters and worsening global energy crisis – there is no turning back for sustainability professionals.

Of course, inflation and sluggish economic growth have put the brakes on some companies, delaying some initiatives, such as hiring more people to meet corporate sustainability ambitions. not so long. Due to the serious nature of social and environmental challenges and the risks they pose to business and society, there is a general feeling that sustainability will remain a key business issue for the foreseeable future.

This is another round of sustainability chacha. Take two steps forward and one step back.

Oddly enough, some of the perturbations above have had beneficial effects on progress. Along with the rapidly growing energy storage technology, it has led to an increase in renewable domestic energy sources, especially photovoltaics and offshore wind. Soaring gas and diesel prices have accelerated the adoption of all types of electric vehicles, from e-bikes to heavy-duty trucks. Supply chain shortages have contributed to the relocalization of manufacturing and logistics, reducing emissions from moving goods across oceans. Low-input indoor farming has taken hold with rising food prices and disrupted distribution.

Still, given real-world indicators of progress, or lack thereof, it is a dangerous and often frightening time. Reluctance of political leaders to address the climate, biodiversity and equity crises decisively. A more evasive operation by the fossil fuel lobby and its allies to slow the global energy transition. More and more plastic is polluting our oceans, reservoirs, and ultimately our bodies. And more corporate commitments and statements unparalleled in real, or at least sufficient, progress.

This is another round of sustainability chacha. Take two steps forward and one step back.

Sure, dancing is exhilarating. Breakthroughs in decarbonizing energy production; high performance chemicals and materials made without fossil fuels. A new generation of plant- and cell-based meat alternatives. Building technologies that enable a healthier and more adaptive workplace — these and many other advances that inspire us and promise positive economic and sustainability outcomes in the years to come To do.

It’s not just silly entrepreneurs who are leading the way, but there are quite a few of them. From furniture manufacturers to food manufacturers to fashion houses, many of the world’s largest companies have developed or acquired technologies that can accelerate their transition to more sustainable products, services and delivery systems.

So, as Ernest Hemingway once said, much of your sustainability wish list is slowly and suddenly coming true. Finally, biodiversity and natural capital are recognized as important inputs to business and industry. Healthy marine ecosystems are associated with climate mitigation and resilience. From insurance to banking to venture capital, the financial sector is waking up to a post-oil future. And the upcoming transparency and disclosure framework promises to help distinguish between leaders and laggards.

And despite a small but tumultuous cabal of right-wing ideologies in the United States, corporations and mainstream investors continue to view environmental and social issues as an activity essential to business and macroeconomic success, rather than a social engineering conspiracy. stakeholder capitalism is alive and well. While some have dismissed it as “awakened capitalism,” many business leaders see him waking up to the realities of the 21st century.

So where does it leave us? What can we expect from 2023?

To answer this, for the 16th consecutive year, we tapped GreenBiz’s analysts and editorial team to identify 10 key trends and developments to watch over the next 12 months. To learn more, download our free report here.

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