It’s hard to believe 2019 is almost over, and with it, the end of a decade. 2019 was a whirlwind, but at Sustainable Business Consulting, we celebrate positive environmental stories and want to share good news around sustainability and the environment. Looking back on the year, here are our favorite good environmental news stories in 2019.
Youth Climate Change Uprising
As climate change has risen in mainstream awareness, youth have found their voice as climate activists and environmental advocates.
- Youth stood up for climate action through school strikes that culminated this past fall.
- Greta Thunberg was recently named TIME’s Person of the Year, and young people are showing that they are passionate about sustainability and fighting for their future.
- Ireland and Britain have declared climate emergencies.
- Italy will require students to study climate change and sustainability.
Businesses Take a Stand
Despite political regressions, 2019 was marked by grassroots uprisings, local involvement, and business action.
- Most recently, 500 certified B Corporations committed to net zero emissions by 2030, and SBC is proud to be part of this initiative.
- Even companies traditionally distancing themselves from the climate debate have gotten involved, such as BHP, the world’s largest mining company, investing $400 million to combat the “indisputable” climate crisis.
- Over 180 CEOs signed to the Business Roundtable new Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation to lead companies to the benefit of all stakeholders, not just shareholders.
- 23 states have mandates to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and initiatives including Climate Mayors and US Climate Alliance encouraged states and local governments to track and report progress on climate goals, making a commitment to support sustainability.
Global Restrictions on Plastics
Europe is leading the way in environmental protection, and a growing wave to reduce single-use plastic has gained steam.
- This March, the European Union took a giant step to ban a wide range of single-use plastic items, including straws and cutlery.
- Straw bans and plastic bag bans spread across the US.
- New Zealand, New York, Samoa and South Korea, are among the many states and countries who this year banned plastic bags, and supermarkets in Thailand replaced plastic packaging with wrapping made from banana leaves
Sustainable Finance Gets a Boost
Sustainable finance has grown considerably just in the past year.
- State Street almost doubled its socially-responsible exchange-traded funds to compete with BlackRock and Bloomberg’s ESG investments.
- Interest in sustainable investing jumped 10% to 85% in the general population, and to 95% of millennials.
- Flows into US sustainable funds more than tripled in 2019, reaching almost $18 billion.
Gender Equality Makes Strides
Gender equality has taken center stage around the world, with advancements across diversity, inclusion, education, and government.
- The US swore into congress the most diverse lawmakers in history with more women than ever.
- Finland recently elected a woman Prime Minister with a coalition government with five women in top spots, four of whom are under 35.
- Iceland became the first country in the world to legally enforce equal pay.
Renewable Energy Electrifies the World
Renewable energy made major advancements internationally.
- 1/3 of power from around the world came from renewable sources.
- Puerto Rico passed legislation to put them on a path to 100% renewable energy by 2050 through a solar grid.
- Renewable energy costs for solar and wind fell to become cost-competitive with oil and coal.
- Renewable power exceeded coal for the first time in US history.
Climate Change Reaches Across the Aisle
We’re increasingly seeing climate change and sustainability becoming a topic that helps reach across the aisle.
- Partisan differences especially disappear on climate change with young voters, with 76% of Democrats believe that humans cause climate change, and 77% of Republicans agree.
- We’re increasingly seeing sustainable solutions that bridge the partisan divide and both Republicans and Democrats can support.
Contact us for more information on how to create hope and some good news through sustainability.