Nine members of the team at Best Foot Forward share their sustainability predictions for the coming year.
“Retailers are no longer going to be able to protect consumers from rising food costs. The string of global droughts, floods and other weather events has resulted in significant crop varieties having low yields.
Demand will continue to be strong and supply will not be able to keep up. Big supermarket brands which have been selling on price for the last decade will be forced to question their ‘low-prices-in-perpetuity’ promises and find a new promise and inner brand that connects consumers with their food supply chains and delivers truly sustainable business practice.”
APPAREL - Dr Andrew Bodey
“I predict that the Higg Index will become more prominent within the apparel industry, and be used in combination with data sources such as the Water Footprint Network and Ecoinvent. The Higg Index is designed to help fashion houses make sustainable choices about design and procurement. 2013 will see the release of an updated version of the Higg Index, which will add social indicators to the 14 environmental metrics already in the tool.”
SPORT - Nick Roberts
“One of the legacies of the 2012 Olympics will be the more prominent greening of sports tournaments, teams and events within the UK and further afield. I predict the greater use of sporting personalities to help deliver a green message, as they can be viewed as trustworthy figures, potentially free of political affiliation and industry bias. I also expect to see sports brands to begin to use carbon offsetting as an additional motivator for exercise, along the lines of this Bored Panda illustration.”
HEALTHCARE– Paul McNeillis
“In 2013 the health and pharmaceutical sectors will see a greater focus on product sustainability following the release of new sector guidelines developed by a leading group of companies around the hub of the NHS sustainable development unit. There will be exploration of sustainable care pathways, with links being made between health and lifestyles, and a shift beyond just carbon into water impact. A few leading organisations will pull away from the pack as they find new ways to scale up sustainability and embed it into their business strategy, operations and products.”
MEASURING CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY - Gregor Pecnik
“Year 2013 will see an increase in Environmental Profit & Loss (EP&L) accounting among large corporations in various sectors. It will be used for deepening understanding of the financial implications of corporate activities on the environment. It will help to measure corporate performance and stimulate cost reduction along the supply chain. As a result EP&L will increasingly be seen as the link between financial and environmental reporting.”
CONSUMERS AND BRANDS - Vicky Grinnell-Wright
“I predict that we will take steps to re-imagine prosperity, moving rapidly towards new business models which enable access to, rather than ownership of, ‘things’, for example, this Primark clothes vision to make fast fashion sustainable; and the rise of Zip Car.
"Consumer-facing brands will get on board with radical business model innovation and the gulf between the first movers and the laggards will become ever wider. Impact will be felt on share prices and in employee and consumer engagement. Through the ‘UK Dream’ project – like the China Dream but for the UK - we will re-imagine the language of sustainability to re-shape and deliver to a nation’s new aspiration…watch this space
BIODIVERSITY - Sebastian Dunnett
“2012 will be a hard act to follow for biodiversity in 2013 with COP11, Rio+20, and the creation of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). 2013 should see the battle against perverse subsidies begin; countries were asked at COP 11 in Hyderabad to investigate subsidies, especially for fossil fuels, with a view to all-out war at COP12 in Korea next year.”
THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY – Chris Stanley
“This will be the year that the concepts and drivers for the Circular Economy will start to be more widely understood by business leaders. Expect more pilots in many sectors as manufacturers seek to reduce their input costs and secure supply routes for scarce materials for their products, especially where they are promoting the sustainability of their products and packaging. There will be a need for more sophisticated modelling of closed loop systems to enable clear choices to be made.”
CLIMATE CHANGE AND ECONOMIC GROWTH - Xana Villa Garcia
“Recently, climate change sceptics have argued that Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projections for increasing temperature are incorrect – but they are wrong. This means, if we as a species are to survive and flourish, economic growth needs to be decoupled from carbon emissions.
"A recent report showed that there has been a decrease in 0.8% carbon intensity for the first decade of this century and slightly lower decarbonisation rate for 2011 of 0.7%. To keep within a 2 degrees global temperature increase we need to decarbonise the economy at a much higher rate c.5.1% per annum for the next four decades. 2013 ought to be the turning point where society, governments and businesses alike become serious about tackling climate change by moving decidedly away from fossil fuel consumption and climate damaging agricultural practices, such as deforestation and nitrate use.”
What are your predictions for 2013? Share your thoughts below!