If history has taught us anything, natural disasters can be a catalyst for change. Post-pandemic we have an opportunity. An opportunity that can only be converted with collective action.
With a staggering 2.68million lives lost globally and in the UK the deepest economic recession since the last war and unemployment at over 5%, it may be difficult to see a light at the end of the tunnel but light there is – if we’re willing to make the effort to find it.
This window of opportunity for positive environmental change will come if society takes action. Action around sustainability, increasing biodiversity and reducing our impact on the environment to mitigate climate change.
Action to gain traction
395 million new jobs could be created by 2030 if – and only if - businesses prioritise nature, according to the World Economic Forum. If we’re looking to meet the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals we’re going to need to start ramping up right now. There are three main areas they say can scale to make a massive difference:
Food, land and oceans
The food we grow and consume delivers c¢10tillion of global GDP and is employs almost 40% of the global workforce. If we can move to more “nature positive” solutions for food growth, there’s the potential to create
191 million new jobs and $3.6 trillion of additional revenue or cost savings by 2030.
Diet diversification: Moving to a more plant based diet.
Farming technology: Opportunities can come from precision-agriculture technologies.
Retail: Reusing, refurbishing and recycling clothes.
Fishing: Sustainable ecosystem management will help the maritime industry globally.
Infrastructure and the built-environment
Construction delivers c40% of global GDP - office buildings, homes and transport. Nature-positive solutions can create 117 million new jobs and $3 trillion in additional revenue or cost savings by 2030.
Smart buildings: Retrofitting systems, switching to LEDs and substituting natural light, and developing green roofs.
Smart sensors: Reducing municipal water leakage.
Waste management: Investment in global waste management.
Energy and extractives
Energy production accounts for 16% of global employment. Demand is growing, so there is an opportunity to create 87 million jobs by 2030.
Mining and resource extraction: New technologies and more mechanisation.
Circular models in the automotive sector: Refurbishing and reusing automotive parts uses less energy than recycling.
Renewables: Stimulus packages for solar and other renewables could generate millions of new jobs.
Time for change
Even before the pandemic, young people had already started to make their voices heard through the Friday school strikes. Maybe it’s time to start listening – and acting – to ensure the glimpses of a greener world during lockdown (like the plunge in carbon emissions and cut in fossil fuel use) becomes the norm and not a rare phenomenon. It’s time to seize the day. Use this opportunity to be greener, more sustainable and encourage a more inclusivity of opportunity. Investment in nature-based solutions will make a green recovery not only possible but also profitable with more jobs and opportunities for all.
Allen & York – delivering sustainable recruitment solutions since 1993