Top 8 U.S. Sustainability Stories From 2019


2019 was the year where stories on the global climate crisis became the ‘norm’ rather than simply an occasional focus piece.

Andrew Winston’s review of sustainability developments in 2019 highlight the significant shift in awareness of the global climate crisis, and its effect on business, politics, communities and human behaviour. 

  1. The climate protest movement explodes
    Greta Thunberg named youngest “Person of the Year” ever by Time Magazine.
  1. Rising awareness of the seriousness of the climate crisis
    Experts from the science wold, business world and media warned that we are hitting “climate tipping points”, and people across the world are indeed taking notice.  
  1. Government and corporate ambitions on climate and sustainability grow
    Launch of “the Green New Deal” in the U.S., and the EU’s Green Deal, with circular economy principles at the core.

    Corporate climate ambitions grew too, with companies setting science-based targets, and pursuing bold carbon reduction commitments, e.g.

  • Amazon will be carbon neutral by 2040 and will buy 100,000 EVs.
  • Ikea added another €200 million to its investments in being carbon neutral by 2030.
    View more here
  1. Business leaders question shareholder primacy and capitalism
    “I need to recognize where consumers want us in ten years…businesses that are only targeting profits will die.”  CEO of Pernod Ricard

    2019 could prove to be a turning point – the Economist dedicated an entire issue to the climate crisis and the Financial Times launched a site to “reset” capitalism.

  1. Sustainable investing advances
    Data shows a major shift in investment towards sustainability, away from traditional coal or fossil fuels.
  1. More companies take a stand
    2019 saw the rise of “woke capitalism”, with some of the biggest U.S. brands taking action on some of the most pressing societal issues, including gun crime, homelessness, minimum wage, adoption and equality.
  1. Plant-based burgers take centre stage in a new food system
    One to watch – a key shift in the global food system, as major brands capitalise on the growing popularity of vegan alternatives.
  1. Clean tech grows even more, especially electric vehicles
    In short, clean technologies are getting cheaper, with renewables replacing coal for the first time, and electric transportation is growing across the world.

So, what should we be looking out for in 2020?

  • Companies will face increased pressure to use their political influence to demand aggressive climate policy.
  • Vogue magazine set to promote re-use and sustainable fashion, reducing clothing footprint.
  • The 2020 presidential election in the U.S. will be critical – watch this space.

What was your favourite sustainability story of 2019?

You can read the full article by Andrew Winston here

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