Recent Trends in Sustainable Development
Sustainable development is a slow, ongoing process in the world today. The nature of sustainability involves making relatively small but inconvenient changes to our lifestyles in order to allot resources for the future. Although the consequences for lack of sustainability will be minutely noticed in the next decade, they will eventually be drastic. Sustainable developers consider ways to save resources throughout product development and city planning to plan for the future. While any change often seems inconvenient, the benefits usually outweigh the trouble caused by changing things up.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Businesses know that there are sustainable options for running their companies, however, practicing these options often requires an investment of time and money. If businesses do not feel pressure from consumers to make sustainable changes, they are slower to make any effort. Consumers and corporations only tend to care about major problems in the here and now, which means that a public shift in the perception of sustainability is often necessary for it to be prioritized by corporations.
In the 1970s, the United States and other major industrial countries were in the middle of an oil and energy crisis, which made energy efficiency a priority for a few years. These crises led to stagnant economic growth and a surge in oil prices; however, this all stabilized by the 80s. “The crisis had passed and gasoline and petroleum products were readily available again,” said Dante Archangeli, an Arizona State University sustainability student. “I worked for other people building buildings, but there was no longer a focus on energy efficiency, and no one knew what sustainability was.”
At the current rate of production, the global oil reserve is predicted to last 46.2 years. Most corporations have yet to shy away from using oil as their main resource. However, as we approach the limit of our oil reserve, these corporations will be forced to reassess their means of production and will have to make a shift towards sustainable energy. Although this number may seem to loom in the distance, its approach is inevitable, and companies that are shifting to sustainable development now will be better off because of it in the future.
While it may be more difficult for old and established companies to change their business practices, newer companies are able to shape their business around sustainable practices. Sustainability is about making the most with what you have, which means taking the extra steps to minimize waste during production and finding innovative ways to save resources in general.
One of these trends is in the cannabis industry who, as a new and growing agricultural industry, has established cleaning and sterilizing procedures to minimize waste in their grow rooms.
As U.S. states shift in favor of cannabis legalization, industry leaders in indoor cultivation products have innovated a solution for 80 percent of plant materials currently going to waste. Growlife Inc. is one of the nation’s most recognized indoor cultivation services and product providers, and it has come up with a process for manufacturing left-behind fibrous plant materials into polymer composites. By doing so and using every part of the marijuana plant, they are maximizing their revenue while keeping costs down and reducing their waste.
There is room for sustainability in every industry, whether it be agriculture, energy, transportation or food; and they don’t require a reinventing of the wheel. There are extensive options for sustainable practices that would benefit companies in the long run, however, they require consumer attention to push corporations in that direction. By caring about energy and product efficiency and readily looking for ways to implement sustainable practices, companies can begin to make the slow but inevitable shift toward the innovative practices that the future of our planet depends on.