Research shows that 50% of Americans believe protecting the environment is more important than economic growth.
In the modern world of seemingly unlimited choices, consumers are increasingly voting for that environmental preference with their wallets.
What this means for businesses is that it’s more important than ever to be knowledgeable about key environmental trends to stay ahead in 2022 and beyond.
Keep reading to discover 7 key emerging environmental trends that are set to impact the world of business in 2022.
1. Exposure of company greenwashing
Many companies are well-aware that they can win new business by selling greener products. Though some are unwilling to put in the work it takes to develop these.
This has given rise to a trend called greenwashing – the practice of conveying a false or misleading impression that a company’s products or services are more environmentally-friendly than they are.
This is typically done through carefully-chosen language, which creates an impression of an environmentally-friendly product while being careful not to make any specific claims.
In the early days of the environmental trend, many businesses were able to get away with this practice without being called out on it. But that’s no longer the case.
Consumers are wisening up to the greenwashing tactic. Companies that continue using it risk having their campaigns backfire on them.
Because if a customer thinks you’re greenwashing, they’re very likely to form a negative impression of your brand – and that could ruin your chance to do business with them again in the future.
So if you’re going to claim that your products are good for the environment, you need to make sure that you can back those statements up with facts.
2. Commitments to net-zero carbon or net-zero emissions
More and more countries are committing to working towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. This means that they’re attempting to hit a balance between the amount of carbon that they release into the air and the amount that they take out.
If we can achieve worldwide net-zero emissions, then our greenhouse gas problem will not get any worse. And that could be essential to the future of our planet.
Companies have a big role to play in this process and consumers know it. That’s why more and more are choosing to support businesses that have embraced net-zero carbon goals.
The number of net-zero companies doubled in 2020 and analysts expect the trend to continue growing in the years to come.
3. Transparency around sustainability policies
Environmental-conscious consumers are starting to expect the companies that they support to have clearly-defined policies around sustainability.
It’s no longer enough to just say that your business is working towards a sustainable future. You also need to give your audience specific details on how you plan to get there and when.
Many companies are even starting to update their customers on their sustainability progress at set intervals. This can be an excellent way to convey that you’re serious about working towards a more environmentally-friendly future and may even help you win new business.
4. The rise of electric-powered transportation
This shows a clear explosion in the consumer demand for cleaner transportation alternatives. It’s a trend that should only continue growing as the environment becomes an increasingly important part of the average American’s life.
5. The decline of fossil fuel usage
As the demand for electric vehicles goes up, the demand for fossil fuels goes down. This is a trend that was sped up by the COVID-19 pandemic but it will likely be here to stay.
Declining fossil fuel consumption is a big part of many countries’ plans to become net-zero carbon emitters by 2050. This indicates that companies may want to start looking into methods of transportation that are less reliant on fossil fuel usage.
6. Increased carbon taxation
Although no U.S. state currently has a carbon tax, the list of international countries that do is growing. Additionally, talks of implementing a carbon taxation policy in the United States have never been hotter.
This suggests that more companies may face carbon taxation in the near future. Under this type of plan, a business would essentially have to pay a fee for each ton of greenhouse gas that they emit into the atmosphere.
If this is a realistic possibility in the future, then your business may need to start preparing for it now. It takes time to adjust your supply chain and processes so that you can reduce greenhouse emissions. You don’t want to get caught facing hefty fines by waiting too long to start this process.
7. Sustainable advertising
Sustainable advertising is another trend that’s picking up steam. This term can mean a few different things. But the type of sustainable advertising that we’re talking about here is using your company’s ads as a way to help the environment.
More and more companies are starting to do this because their consumers appreciate it. There are lots of ways to do this.
For example, some companies are using outdoor billboards that double as air purifiers or habitats for local birds. Other businesses are focusing more on digital marketing to reduce the amount of paper they consume with advertising.
Strategies for embracing these environmental trends
It’s a mistake to think of environmentalism as a trend. Instead, it’s more of a lasting shift in the way that consumers are thinking about the way that they interact with the world. And a big part of environmentalism is choosing to buy from companies that play a role in helping the planet instead of harming it.
That’s why it’s only going to become more and more important for businesses to embrace environmentally-sound practices moving forward.
If you’re interested in starting to do that, here are some strategies to get you started.
Come up with a clearly-defined sustainability plan
The first thing you need to do is figure out the specific steps that you can take to reduce your impact on the environment. This might include:
- Reducing the emissions created during your manufacturing processes
- Reducing the amount of paper your company uses
- Optimizing your supply chain to reduce fossil fuel consumption
- Creating more sustainable product packaging
Whatever you decide to do, make sure that you come up with a realistic plan with specific targets.
Set milestones and communicate your progress towards them
Customers today don’t just want to hear that you’re working towards sustainability. They also want to be able to see that you’re doing so with their own eyes.
The best way to do that is by setting specific milestones for your company and communicating the progress that you’re making towards them.
For example, you might set an overall goal of becoming a net-zero carbon emitter. Then you could set milestones of gradual reductions in your carbon emissions and communicate when you reach them.
This makes it clear to your customers and prospects that you’re making progress towards your sustainability goals instead of just talking about it.
Don’t promise more than you’re delivering
Greenwashing is a really big problem and consumers know it. They’ve started to develop a sense for it and they dislike the companies that practice it.
That’s why it’s important to make sure that you aren’t giving off the impression of greenwashing with whatever environmental strategy you commit to implementing.
You can make sure you don’t give off that impression by only communicating what you deliver. That way, customers don’t feel like you’re inflating your efforts just to mislead them and win their business.
Encourage employees to do their parts
At the end of the day, companies are just collections of individuals. So if the individuals that make up your company do more to help the environment, then the company’s overall sustainability will go up.
That’s why it’s also a good idea to engage your employees with your environmental efforts. You can encourage them to carpool or give them an incentive for using an electric car.
You might even want to ask your employees for advice about your environmental strategy. They may have some great ideas that can help you stand out with consumers.
UPshow makes it easier to highlight your environmental initiatives
If you’re going to invest in becoming a more environmentally-friendly company, then you need an efficient way to communicate with your customers and employees.
Digital signage is perfect for this. It’s a simple, but powerful system that can help your company cut back on paper usage, as well as showcase environmental initiatives throughout all of your business’s locations.