“Approach the New Year with resolve to find the opportunities hidden in each new day.” Michael Josephson So, what opportunities will 2023 have in store for sustainability? I’m excited to share there is a lot of good news here (something that isn’t always easy to find in environmental news). Work-Related 1. Carbon Negative e-mail marketing – Yes, even e-mail causes carbon emissions (think servers and the power it takes to run all the tech), but carbon-neutral or carbon-negative e-mail marketing could be next for companies looking to be more sustainable. An algorithm calculates the carbon emissions from your e-mails and allows you to purchase offsets to become neutral or negative. 2. Work-from-home / hybrid work – This trend started in 2020 because, well, it was 2020. But you’ll be seeing more WFH and hybrid work options as employers embrace the flexibility it provides its employees and often the cost reduction it gives the employers. 3. Biophilic Design – This trending way to design helps connect us back to nature. It goes beyond having a plant or two on your desk at work. It is more in line with creating a whole habitat setting. Biophilic design can decrease stress, increase creativity, lower anxiety, and boost your mood. 4. Decrease of in-person events – Another happy effect of the pandemic is more online events and fewer in-person events. This would lower travel emissions and decrease employer spending. 5. Increase in transparency reports – As our society becomes more socially and environmentally conscious, transparency reports from companies and organizations will become more important than ever. Consumers want to see the data and know the companies they support are doing what they say and not greenwashing or using tricky marketing techniques. Fashion 6. Sustainable fashion focus – Fast fashion has been a top environmental issue for a long time. But brands are starting to come around to the idea that sustainable fashion is more marketable than ever. In 2021 the fashion industry alone accounted for 20% of the world’s plastic production. Chemicals to dye fabric are often toxic and harmful to people near clothing factories. Though progress is slow, 2023 will see more brands jump on the sustainable bandwagon. 7. Natural fabrics – From plant-based leathers to organic cotton, natural fabrics are what sustainable consumers are asking for. 8. Shopping Local – Not only are you supporting a company that then supports your community, but you’re also reducing transportation costs for the clothing you buy. You’ll also be able to have more of a voice in sustainable options by “voting with your money.” 9. Ethical fashion – Working conditions in clothing factories overseas are often deplorable and don’t provide workers with the money they need to survive. Where our clothes come from and how they are produced is becoming more of a conversation among consumers. 10. Increase in vintage & second-hand shopping – Shopping for second-hand fashion has exploded recently. Whether you’re supporting a local shop or using online retailers like ThredUp, second-hand options give clothes another life and keep them from the landfill. 11. Minimalistic fashion – Less is more. Simple pieces (often in solid colors), paired well, can be stunning. Companies are noticing this trend and creating more durable classic options that are easy to wear time and time again. Production and Industries 12. Sustainable packaging – From Lego to Zara big companies are starting to transition to smarter packaging that is sustainable. With 40% of plastic production going to packaging, we have a long way to go, but the trend is encouraging. 13. Minimalistic packaging – With overwhelming designs on every shelf of every store, minimalistic packaging is actually a breath of fresh air. Minimizing packaging is sustainable but also a great marketing tool. It easily captures the eyes of customers and allows the product to speak for itself. 14. Removing single-use plastics from hotels – Hotels are starting to understand how harmful those single-use plastic toiletry bottles and cups are. More and more are moving toward refillable containers. Not only is it more planet-friendly, but it can also be much more efficient and cost-effective. 15. Carbon offsets – Though it is my opinion that carbon offsets are not the best environmental option, they are a way to move the needle toward a better future. Offsets can be purchased to cover your carbon emissions. Though reducing or eliminating emissions is the best option, offsets do have their place in the sustainable world. 16. All-electric homes – In November of 2022 interest grew for all-electric homes by 42% from the previous year. Often paired with solar panels, all-electric homes are becoming more common in new builds as natural gas is being questioned in many cities around the country. (We actually have an all-electric home with solar panels and it is amazing!) Which of these trends are you most excited about?
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