Author: Froeydis Gording (BD & PM Lead at UrbanEmerge)
Co-authors/reviewer: Andreas Beavor (UrbanEmerge Partner)
At UrbanEmerge, we were encouraged to see the recent study (https://www.edie.net/news/7/Three-quarters-of-UK-businesses-reconsidering-their-environmental-credentials-due-to-Covid-19--survey/) concluding that 75% of businesses are considering their environmental commitments and position after covid-19. As regions and countries yearn to return to normal, there have been several questions of what the ‘new normal’ should be. Here at UrbanEmerge, we fully support any shifts to a greener and more sustainable normal.
While covid-19 shook many systems to their core, it has highlighted that green change is possible. It has also demonstrated the scale of change needed to limit global greenhouse gas emissions to meet the Paris agreement targets. As companies sent their employees to work from home indefinitely, people reduced travel, and few planes took off, there was a very quick and real measurable impact on climate.
Electricity demand dropped, and remains down 10% compared to pre-lockdown levels in most of the world (IEA) and daily carbon emissions were down approximately 17% by April (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-020-0797-x). For those of us working towards a sustainable future, this was positive news.
As the world starts to open up again, countries are establishing flight corridors, and offices are opening up, it is worth reflecting on what we want the new normal to look like, and how we can best work together to achieve that.
Here at UrbanEmerge we are big proponents of working from home, using our online platform and remote working tools to coordinate our teams across countries, continents and timezones. Where possible, we also advocate reduced international travel by making use of consultants already based in countries where interventions are implemented, linking them with remote support of experts if needed. And we think that is something we’re likely to see offered more and more from companies in general; it helps save on business costs, commuting costs, emissions, and in many cases provides a better quality of life for employees. It’s the ultimate triple bottom line win - better for profit, planet and people.
We commit to continuing to do all we can to ensure a sustainable future and sustainable development, working with private companies and donor organisations to ensure our world is inclusive and sustainable, particularly across cities and infrastructure. And we’re thrilled to know that 72% of UK businesses agree with us, and want to work towards this goal.
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