Sustainability is a business opportunity, a matter of survival, a customer obsession enabler, and an integral part of business risk. Seeded with immense government investment, environmental sustainability is ushering in a green market revolution. At Forrester, we define and track environmental sustainability trends covering technology, climate risk, marketing efforts (including greenwashing), supply chain emission reductions, and professional services. We are excited to launch Forrester’s inaugural environmental sustainability predictions report to highlight some of the most impactful changes we anticipate in the coming months.
Here is a preview of a few of Forrester’s 2023 predictions for sustainability:
- Carbon offsets and credits will be back in fashion but with less fraud. Carbon offsets have been criticized as an excuse for corporations to sidestep actual carbon reduction activities. Dubious practices and flawed reliance on offset strategies — even by governments — have attracted immense scrutiny on the offset market. Technology vendors and mature organizations that have learned lessons from previous carbon offsets will lead the way in setting carbon-offset transparency standards and providing marketplaces.
- Five Fortune Global 200 firms will announce policies limiting travel for sustainability. Pre-pandemic demand for air travel outpaced decarbonization efforts, but COVID-19 restrictions reduced business travel by nearly 54%. Now, as business travel returns, not all firms are returning to business as usual, and some are using the restart to reevaluate existing travel practices by tracking travel emissions data. As public companies prepare for greater SEC scrutiny, with fines for misstatements and omissions, we’ll see them anchor their sustainability goals with corporate policies that drive environmentally sustainable behavior.
- One standard will claim supremacy for greater transparency in carbon reporting. A new carbon accounting standard that draws on the best of existing standards will emerge from a recognized international body, such as the International Organization for Standardization or a public-private collaboration, such as a UN agency. This standard will be applicable across industries and regions, clarify murky areas of scope 3 reporting, such as remote work emissions data, and usher in a new era of transparency. This new framework will deliver reliable scope 1, 2, and 3 information to investors, shareholders, and customers and qualify an organization for credit and lending.