Sadly, none of the environmental benefits discussed above are guaranteed. Car journeys have returned to pre-pandemic levels in many places[vii], home energy use is on the increase, and there’s little evidence of a reduction in emissions from office construction. But what the past 18 months have shown us is that we can shape the future to meet our needs at home and at work.
Individuals and businesses say that sustainability is very important to them, but few organisations reward their employees for keeping their emissions down. If businesses tracked carbon emissions with as much care as they track expenses, it might be possible to set personal, team, and departmental carbon budgets and make a big step forward to becoming carbon neutral and environmentally friendly.
It’s critical that we keep making progress and that we don’t return to the old ways. Recent events, including extreme weather, fuel and food shortages, and the ongoing pandemic will not go away. We need to work smart to overcome them.
But if, as we progress, we put sustainability at the core of everything we do, then there is real hope.