We have entered one of the most critical decades in human history. As global citizens, what we do between 2021 and 2030 will either push the planet past an irreversible tipping point or preserve a relatively stable climate for centuries to come. If we reach the tipping point, we can count on an unrecognizable environment with untold damage, millions of climate refugees, and the scarcity of the most basic goods.
Our collective actions have the power to reshape our planet and create a sustainable future for all. Unsustainable business practices and centuries of destructive behavior have created our current climate crisis. According to the Global Footprint Network’s measurements, if every human on the planet lived like an American, we would need over five Earths to sustain the population. But businesses and individuals have the power to rewrite the narrative. Small commitments and climate-friendly resolutions can help to create a more livable, sustainable, prosperous world for us all—but we can’t wait.
What do we have to do by 2030?
1.5 is the critical number—that’s 1.5ºC or 2.7ºF. If the Earth’s average temperature warms by 1.5ºC, its natural systems will go out of balance to a dangerous degree. We must cut emissions in half by 2030 and reach net zero carbon by 2050 to stay below the 1.5ºC threshold. But that’s not all—we have to take excess carbon out of the atmosphere.
Suppose we do nothing—carbon emissions go unchecked, and the planet’s temperature rises by 10.8ºF. By 2050, 250,000 people could die every year as a result of climate change. By the end of this century, the Arctic and Greenland could become ice-free, oceans could rise 5–10 feet. According to World Bank estimates, 100 million people could fall into poverty due to flooding, drought, heat, and conflict.
What’s standing between 2.7ºF and 10.8ºF is the lifeblood of modern civilization and the primary culprit accelerating climate change—fossil fuels and their emissions. Reducing—and eventually eliminating—emissions will require a rapid transition to clean energy. Businesses and individuals can take steps now to lower their emissions and operate more sustainably. And the steps don’t have to be costly—many climate-friendly resolutions can reduce costs, save money, and improve employees’ quality of life.
Actionable climate-friendly and sustainable resolutions
While more and more people make it a point to practice sustainable behaviors at home, what if you could inspire your business to commit to more planet-friendly resolutions? Resolutions that curb climate change could also have far-reaching effects—including saving time and money and boosting employee engagement and customer loyalty
Some of our favorite ways your business can help the planet in 2021:
- Curb unnecessary in-person meetings—a positive Covid behavior we should continue. Replace them with remote sessions and allow employees to work from home when possible.
- Create an employee bike-to-work program.
- Divest from banks and portfolios that invest in fossil fuels and unsustainable companies.
- As you ramp your catering back up, consider vegan or vegetarian dishes, which require much less energy and land to produce.
- Buy in-season food from local co-ops, CSAs, and farmers’ markets to reduce carbon-intensive transit miles.
- Adopt low-carbon shipping options and buy offsets.
- Organize discussion groups and events focused on sustainability topics. Host a speaker on the subject and encourage others to learn more.
- Dive deep into “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Reducing waste is always best, so look for ways to keep things out of the trash. When that’s not possible, reuse or recycle responsibly.
- Incentivize employee use of public transportation.
- Consider buying energy offsets or renewable energy certificates (RECs) for your company.
- Create a compost plan to begin when your company returns to the office. Find a local compost center to help keep organic matter out of the landfill.
- Organize a tree planting day. Trees are a great way to offset emissions, invest in clean air, and leave a positive legacy.
- As company vehicles reach their end-of-life, replace them with electric vehicles—they’re cheaper to operate and better for the planet.
Commit to Green in 2021 with Sustain.Life
You can leverage your planet-friendly resolutions at the workplace to help others make sustainable decisions. Little everyday steps will avert the climate crisis and pay economic and social dividends. To reach 2030 targets, all of us must take individual steps culminating in immense cumulative impact.
The world doesn't need a handful of people or businesses to be perfectly sustainable: It needs everyone to do the best they can.
Sustain.Life connects your business to attainable solutions proven to lower your carbon footprint and future-proof your business for success in the 21st century. Let's take on 2021 together.