Key focuses for sustainability in 2023
The COP27 climate conference in 2022 was a mixed bag. On the one hand, developed countries finally agreed to set up a loss and damage fund to compensate developing countries for the climate chaos that industrialised countries have mainly caused.
On the other hand, the target of limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels is barely alive. COP27 failed to achieve any major breakthroughs in areas such as phasing out fossil fuels.
The need for greater and faster progress on climate change issues grows every day. Here are a few key focuses for this year in order to help address climate change.
Decarbonising heat – The end of gas
Despite the ongoing effort to keep hydrogen in the news as the “saviour” of the gas industry, the majority of people can see that we are near the end of gas as the primary method of home heating in the UK.
Even if hydrogen can be produced to function in homes and enough residences are converted to gas boilers that are “hydrogen-ready,” we are still a long way from making this a reality, and there is a limited amount of time left for us to slow climate change.
So, the answer has to be renewable heating and a ready solution already exists in the form of heat pumps. These are available now in many forms and sizes so can be fitted to almost any home or commercial building to deliver reliable heating all year round.
There are challenges in terms of training enough installers and we need to upgrade older buildings but there can be no doubt now that the age of the heat pump is upon us.
More collaboration is needed to tackle climate change. We are already seeing students demand universities demonstrate their sustainability, and those graduates are then going on to look for employment with companies that have strong environmental and well-being policies.
We are also seeing customers demand better levels of sustainability whether from the manufacturers they buy from, or even from local councils, with demands for higher levels of recycling, more electric charging points and a clear sustainability strategy.
Companies are responding to this and pushing the market to continue to develop, raising the bar so that even those who haven’t quite started on their net zero journey will be forced to join in.
Another key focus of 2023 needs to be calling out greenwashing. Consumers are becoming more demanding about the companies they buy from and the products they want. This needs to extend to brands and governments being challenged on their environmental claims as we have seen in the past plenty of governments and companies lying about their environmental claims and practices.