As better informed evidence and science based decisioning becomes increasingly mainstream, so too will our purchasing and behavioural decisions. Right now this shift will be more about to the materials and ethics of how something like a pair of dog whellies are made as we are still a long way off saying 'no' to things that are completely unnecessary. The good news is that there is a strong will to make better eco decisions around our children, pets, transport, food, fashion and money - and that means greener choices.
EVs are gaining real momentum globally. According to BloombergNEF, there are now over 10 million electric vehicles on the road globally, and adoption will continue to accelerate in 2021. Driving this will be generous subsidies, tighter fuel economy/CO2 regulations, fleet purchases, and a growing number of competitive models. BloombergNEF expect around 4.4 million passenger EVs (including battery electrics and plug-in hybrids) to be sold globally this year, up about 60% from 2020.
Australia has zero subsidies for electric cars, making them among the world's most expensive, but electric car sales are steadily increasing nonetheless. Tesla has shipped more than 10,000 electric cars to Australia since 2014, and 30% of these were shipped in 2020. In some countries like Norway, where there are excellent incentives to buy EV cars, sales have already more than 50% of cars on the road.
Electric bicycles and scooters are proving to be the ideal mode of transportation as cities emerge from lockdown, especially for those travelling shorter distances or not at all. Electric Bike companies are reporting sales increases between 150% and 400% as more and more or us return to work.
More than 62% of Australian households (40% dogs and 27% cats), now own at least one pet. Increasingly seen as a family member, pets are commanding more considered investment. I don't just mean money. Consideration is also about more systemic household investment and the humanisation of pets.
As pets become 'family', more and more pet owners buy organic, healthy and eco friendly food and accessories. Considerations like chemicals in household cleaners and backyard gardens - anywhere a low lying pets comes into contact with the ground, are now more closely scrutinised, driving sales of eco friendly cleaners, fertilisers and pest control.
From investment to lending, by the end of 2021, every lending, deposit taking and investment institution in Australia will need to be able to answer the ethical financial institution question. This trend is fast becoming mainstream as more institutional groups socialise the basic lack of logic in investing in anything that carries adverse climate risk. Coupled with governments, superannuation funds and corporations being taken to court over poor climate risk decisions (and losing), awareness is rising fast.
According to BloombergNEF, sustainable debt hit a new record in 2020 for greatest volume of issuance in a year, at $732.1 billion across bond and loan varieties raised with environmental and social purposes in mind. Growth year on year since 2013 has been astounding.
Add to this pot the message that everyone has the power to make a difference through how they choose to wield their money and you have a powerful, low effort ability to make a very big clean difference when you spend, invest or borrow.
2021 will continue to see the rise of grass roots power, business and action. 2020 saw many many groups take to the streets - from the global school strike, to Black Lives Matter, white supremacists, Extinction Rebellion, Trump supporters etc. We also saw a rise in community, neighbourhoods and direct care with COVID restrictions.
While not all grass roots groups are for the common good, this emergent trend supports a new state of consciousness and care for society and environment and is the central tenant of sprouting grass roots economies, which in turn support better climate impact decisions. (Think local, country of origin, low travel miles, less chemicals, stronger community trading, powerful and broad based change.)
As we understand more about the the impact of the way we live, sustainable brands, and ekko.world has thousands of them, will become more prominent. Companies like Outland Denim, who support women exploited by sex trafficking are a great example. Outland Denim rescue enslaved sex workers - girls and women and train them as seamstresses. Each seamstress prints her story on the pocket lining of every garment she makes.
As Florida inherited the remnants of the 45th USA President and his gaggle, with them went the glorification of 'us & them', exhibitions of hate, outright hypocrisy and well, telling outright lies while looking you straight in the eye.
We are going to see hypocrisy called out more and more - I suspect to the point of becoming tedious for many people. Hypocrisy as basic as decrying lack of climate action by others and then jetting off across the world or the country to somewhere cooler to escape the rising heat.
Scientists, politicians, bureaucrats, business leaders will increasingly find themselves exposed and scrutinised. Law suits, injunction applications and challenges will continue to rise.
The European Green Deal is a plan to make the EU’s economy net zero by 2050 - a strategy to turn climate and environmental challenges into opportunities and making the green transition just and inclusive for all, to achieve:
While not as controversial as the USA Democrat's Green New Deal, and no where near good enough according to Greta Thunberg, it's a good start in the leading countries on the planet and will serve as a forward scout for others and the world ramps up their climate management efforts.
Brace yourself for all manner of dodgy carbon accounting and counting in 2021. Carbon offsetting will become the go to strategy for greenwashing everything from Roundup to Aspirin.
While it's easy to be cynical, the importance of this trend is that it engages everyone (finally) in the emissions conversation and action. Campaigns like 'Cut a Tonne in '21', endorsed by the United Nations, is asking people to make a New Year's resolution in 2021 to slim their carbon footprint by a tonne, through measures from going vegetarian to flying less and buying renewable power. There are many tools around and one of the latest is Giki Zero.
Have a great 2021!
Images: Wag Wear | Tesla | Ben & Jerrys | BloombergNEF | Outland Denim | Unsplash - Clemens Van Lay