The immediate impact of Covid-19 restrictions on sustainability and the environment were significant. Global lockdowns forced major changes in people’s behaviour, roads across the world fell silent and the use of air travel almost ground to a halt as people were sent to work at home and travel abroad was restricted. These sudden and major changes saw daily emissions of greenhouse gases plunge, resulting in the sharpest fall of carbon output since records began.
However, new reports are showing that the effect of this sudden decline on emissions is likely to be small, signifying that climate change remains a major threat. CO2 can last for hundreds of years, and with CO2 levels continuing to rise in the atmosphere, it is likely that 2016 to 2020 will be the warmest five years on record.
With many businesses currently in survival mode, it is easy to see why companies are reverting to their Pre-Covid practices to get back on track quickly. Additionally, with profit margins for many organisations dented, it is understandable that many are avoiding investment in newer, more sustainable practices in order to protect the bottom line.
Nevertheless, the past year has shown that changes in people’s behaviours such as driving less and working from home, can greatly reduce emissions, however larger structural changes in business are needed to make real change. Moving forward, organisations will need to consider working arrangements for employees, assess and switch to more environmentally conscious supply chains as well as review their overall sustainability commitment. Post pandemic, there is a major opportunity for investment in more sustainable companies and industries; now is the time to shape businesses to be more resilient and less vulnerable to major events ensuring future business success and carbon neutrality.