In 2018 we were reminded that the road to environmental sustainability would not always be smooth. But there were many positive steps taken to protect the environment, most of which are expected to grow in 2019.
In October, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that we have only 12 years left to avoid some of the most devastating impacts of climate change, unless we cut carbon emissions in half.
A month later, a report released by the federal government concluded that the effects of climate change, including deadly wildfires, increasingly debilitating hurricanes and heat waves, are already battering the United States, and the danger of more such catastrophes is worsening. These studies and their dire predictions received considerable news coverage in 2018.
However, receiving far less attention were the many positive steps taken in 2018 to protect the environment, most of which are expected to grow in 2019.
Coal mines are closing. Germany closed its last coal mine in 2018; France will shutter all its coal mines by 2021; and India canceled plans to build several large coal mines.
Renewable energy keeps getting cheaper. In 2018, businesses bought more clean energy in six months than they did the entire year of 2017.
The number of electric cars sold around the world has doubled since 2017 and will continue to grow. Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes, Volvo, and Nissan will all introduce new electric vehicles in 2019. Electric buses are getting a boost. China is replacing about 10,000 traditional buses with electric buses every five weeks.
“Engagement displays” were installed in commercial and public buildings for the first time in 2018. These allow workers and building users to see what steps an organization is taking to reduce its environmental impacts and promote sustainability, helping to improve transparency and promote sustainability
We are also witnessing something that has received very little news attention. Corporations are now donating more money for disaster relief than ever before. In 2000, less than a third of the world’s largest corporations donated anything. By 2018, nearly 90% of them donated money for disaster relief. This means more corporations are caring for their communities, a key component of sustainability.
By Stephen Ashkin, CEO of Sustainability Dashboard Tools, LLC