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A Green Reset: What 2022 will bring for businesses and the environment

What is on businesses environmental and sustainability agenda for the coming year.

2021 was a big year for the environment, with economies moving from lockdowns and reduced carbon output in 2020, to seeing those levels rise again in 2021. Governments from across the world came together for the delayed COP26, held in Glasgow. And in the UK, The Environment Act was passed into law, a significant achievement that should underpin our government’s commitments to protect and improve the natural environment. So what will a green recovery mean for businesses in 2022?


Environmental Commitments

In a survey by YouGov, only 29% of over 1,000 senior business decision makers of UK businesses have a strategy for reaching carbon net zero.

Businesses with a strategy to address this issue statistically see better long-term growth and consumer support, with sustainability often allowing businesses sustainable levels of growth. We therefore expect this number to increase, with ongoing support to businesses in addressing CSR and environmental commitments forming part of this.

The commitments made by governments across the globe at COP26 mean businesses will also need to look at how their practices could be greener and contribute to achieving climate related goals. For UK businesses, the need to collect relevant data and be transparent when sharing it is going to be of key importance.

Glass Bottles

Greater consideration for Greenwashing

Consumers are making sustainability a key factor in brand loyalty and purchasing decisions. With more knowledge around what is and isn’t good for the planet, businesses should be wary of using environmental or eco claims without fully researching how their company is helping the environment.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will in investigating sectors such as fashion, transport, food and drink, and beauty over their environmental claims. Advertising certain eco credentials, without properly assessing those claims could negatively impact brands and consumer confidence in their products.


Increase in the use of recycled content

With the introduction of the Plastic Packaging Tax in April (PPT) of this year, we are likely to see businesses include greater amounts of recycled content in their plastic packaging.

Single use plastic packaging remains an integral part of our supply chain, with essential uses for healthcare and reducing food waste. A move to more circular practices for plastic is to encourage businesses to use recycled plastic. Once the legislation is introduced by HMRC, we may see businesses innovating around the use of recycled content both in plastic and beyond.

Net zero

The UK legislated for net-zero by 2050 in 2019. Momentum gathered pace around COP26 and the focus from governments and organisations has moved from target-setting into the next phase of detailed planning and delivery, incorporating net zero into businesses Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) objectives.

Investors are increasingly applying non-financial factors as part of their analysis process to identify material risks and growth opportunities. Within the environmental requirements, net zero will become increasingly important.

Businesses should initially focus on the data around supply chains and carbon counting to understand where opportunities lie in reducing their carbon footprint and make realistic changes to incorporate net zero principles within a lifecycle of a product.


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