They say: “There’s nothing like the gallows, to focus the mind”.
Covid-19 is a wake-up call.
Now that lockdown is being eased, we find ourselves secretly hoping that it doesn't spell the end of the recent decline of emissions, for example.
With businesses reopening it is worthwhile remembering what the pandemic showed us that we are all interlinked. With this in mind, now should be the time to realign objectives and focus on not only the economical aspect of recovery, but also the social and environmental aspects.
Elana Kruger, Marketing Manager of Church House Westminster, comments “Businesses that will survive will have a clear purpose. Their ‘why’ will be to support society and combat climate change in a resilient way. The key to building back better for the greater good after the pandemic is to embrace sustainability.”.
So, what positive outcomes can we expect to see for sustainability in a post-covid world?
The rise and rise of the mental health movement
Physical and mental well-being took centre-stage during the lockdown. We saw waves of kindness with the weekly Thursday evening clap for carers. As individuals we have spent lockdown reflecting on our individual purpose. We’ve developed new exercise habits and spent chunks of our time exploring green spaces. These new habits and routines continue to help us feel less stressed as we deal with the lack of control. We’ve meditated and practised mindfulness, often with the help of apps like Calm and HeadSpace. Our happiness and those around us are paramount and will only intensify with the new normal, with health and wellness becoming the new luxury .
Positive climate action
Businesses will evaluate supply chains and opt for local suppliers to avoid any disruptions. There should be less business travel after having witnessed the use of online meeting apps. Whilst working from home policies - even if just 2 days a week - will reduce carbon emissions. Businesses will also produce less waste as a result of remote working, coupled with a reduction in energy use in offices and a switch to more efficient energy use such as renewable power sources.
Hybrid events with enhanced event sustainability credentials
Yes, we’ve seen virtual events take off during lockdown but in the corporate world, there is simply no replacement for in-person meetings. Human connection will always supersede virtual. Events will return with a few adjustments.
With covid-secure measures venues are redesigning their catering offer to provide individually portioned grab and go food options that are healthy and locally-sourced. This will almost certainly reduce food wastage, probably one of the largest contributors of the environmental costs of events after business travel.
Event organisers will consider clever ways of integrating wellness as part of an event. Natural light and green spaces will be crucial in helping those attending to revitalise and reengage, along with ample and additional spaces for reflection and meditation.