1. From economic collapse to a green economic recovery. Interest in all things “green” continues to grow as the economy sinks. About 34 percent of people are now more likely to buy environmentally responsible products, and 44 percent say that their environmental shopping habits have not changed during this downturn. Businesses are realizing the ability to minimize costs through environmentally conscious operations.
2. From carbon footprint confusion to footprint awareness. More than half of the global population is aware of the term “carbon footprint,” up from 38 percent in 2007. As this awareness grows, consumers will likely drive the sustainability market by demanding low carbon products.
3. From carbon offset doubt to market development. More companies will continue to offset carbon emissions, with an expected growth in the global carbon offset market of 20 percent in 2009. Despite this prediction, Clownfish hope that there will be a stronger trend for direct reductions rather than offsetting; as the old saying goes, “prevention is better than cure.”
4. From carbon-centric to water-centric. The UK has become obsessed with carbon footprints, but now the term water footprint has entered the corporate vocabulary. About 2.6 billion people have no access to clean water, a problem not isolated to developing countries. Businesses will no longer be able to ignore their water use and efficiency.
5. From direct water use to embedded water use. According to Waterwise, the average person in the UK directly uses about 150 liters of water per day. But there is an indirect use, which is about 23 times higher at 3400 liters per day, with 31 percent embedded in industrial goods and 65 percent embedded in food To reduce this indirect usage, consumers will be calling on businesses to make changes to their products.
6. From high-energy use light-bulbs to light-sensors. A recent survey of over 2000 lighting and electrical experts has found that occupancy sensors are the most recommended energy saving office tool. They can save an average of 30 percent in lighting costs. Expect more companies to be adopting energy saving techniques, particularly as companies tighten their purse strings in the recession and energy bills continue to fluctuate.
7. From cheap to costly carbon car taxes. European taxes on carbon emissions for new cars are becoming stricter. Suppliers will need to be engaged and made aware of the realities that they will face when this legislation is passed.
8. From fast fashion to slow fashion. Consumers are beginning to steer away from cheap, disposable items and appreciate the value of investing in ethically-sourced, organic and fairtrade fabrics. Consumer awareness will continue to grow, and shoppers will no longer consider products that cause environmental destruction or promote unethical practices to be the best. Luxury fashion will begin to associate environmentally and socially responsible products with status.
9. From landfill waste to lack of space. Landfill sites for London’s non-hazardous rubbish are likely to be full by the end of 2010, and other landfill sites will run out of capacity by 2013. Europeans hope to achieve a 75 percent reduction in landfill waste between 2005 and 2010, a further 50 percent by 2013 and 35 percent by 2020. So companies will have to seek reductions in waste or be forced to pay up.
10. From energy excess to energy efficiency. The EU’s prEN 16001 energy efficiency standard, out in 2009, will extend the scope of the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 environmental standards into energy management to help companies set up continuous improvement processes for efficient energy use. The ISO is planning to do likewise with a new ISO 50001 standard by 2011.
11. From energy efficiency standards to legal requirements. New energy laws are likely. A draft EU standard for energy efficiency services was published in March 2009 and outlines standards for calculating energy consumption, energy audit methodologies, and energy certificates, which the EU hopes may be tradable in the future.
12. From fossil fuels to renewables. Renewable energy is a focus of 2009 as the European Investment Bank increases lending to develop renewable energy schemes. According to Morgan Stanley’s Green Market Penetration forecast (2007), the renewables trend is going to continue developing; revenue from alternative energies could top $500 billion in 2020 and world-wide sales from alternative energy sources could reach $1 trillion by 2030.
13. From printed papers to digital development. Digital marketing has provided new tools for brands to reach their audiences; the development of online videos, social networks, podcasts and games, highlights that the digital marketing space will continue to expand. Brands will increasingly use online spaces to communicate with consumers. It’s no longer a one-way narrative, it’s about a two-way conversation.
14. From greenwashing to green authentification. Complaints about the misuse of green terminology in advertisements have increased dramatically in recent years. The most common claims being challenged referr to carbon reduction, cradle-to-grave, and green energy sources. This year will see the development of advertising standards and an increasing requirement for brands to have claims underpinned by facts.
15. From creative carbon labels to consistent carbon labeling. Carbon labeling schemes are up and running on lots of packaging, but there is a lack of transparency in the calculations and no international standardization.
16. From offline to online. Brands can no longer hide behind their TV ads or billboard posters because of the power of online search. Consumers are actively seeking information about the brands with which they interact. It is increasingly important for brand image to match company behaviour. After all, 81 percent of UK consumers place more importance on what companies do than what they say. There is a positive correlation between transparency and trust.
17. From environmental sustainability to embedded sustainability. The UN Development and Happiness Index, and the NEF Happy Planet Index integrate human well-being and environmental impact. The credibility of these indices will continue to increase. As awareness increases about the intertwined relationship between the environment and well-being, the public will rapidly demand environmental action.
18. From company claims to external verification. About 64 percent of consumers want third-party verification of green claims. Some unusual partnerships are already developing between NGO’s and large organisations—McDonald’s and Greenpeace, Coca-Cola and WWF, and Vodafone Greece and Greenpeace. As this trend continues, there needs to be a balance between credibility and values for both the company and the NGO to retain the trust of consumers.
19. From one renewable success to another. Patents in wind, fuel cells, hydroelectric, tidal and geothermal were up in 2008 over 2007. In contrast, solar, hybrid/electric vehicle and biomass/biofuel energy patents fell slightly in 2008. In 2009, it will be interesting to see which renewable energy sources will continue to develop new technology.
20. From bins to bucks. People are opting to reuse, resell, donate or recycle old goods. Millions sell used goods on Ebay, which has recently launched “green team” and “world of good” websites to help users buy, sell and think green. We are beginning to see end use considered in the design stage of the products we buy. Manufacturers are reusing parts of returned products, essentially accomplishing two things: repurposing the materials and holistically extending the life of the product. This is an environmentalists’ dream that will hopefully spread across the business world.
Becky Willan is Head of Strategy for Clownfish Marketing, a London-based marketing and communications agency that specializes in sustainability. To see the full report, go to http://www.clownfishmarketing.co.uk
Source: Living Green Magazine