Welcome to the 20s: An Introduction to the Decade of Action

Allison Murray

Published February 11, 2020
in News

By Allison Murray

We are more than a month into 2020, and have officially entered into the decade of action, where the next ten years will need to see ambitious action across all sectors to successfully deliver on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) by 2030. What does this mean for businesses in Atlantic Canada – and beyond?

Welcoming us into this decade, the World Economic Forum (WEF) held their annual meeting in Davos last month. Climate change and climate action underpinned many discussions throughout the week; so much so that this year’s event has been dubbed the “Green Davos”.

Many companies, NGOs and governments used the Davos meeting as a platform to report on sustainability and announce climate-related commitments. Included among this year’s flow of reports was the 2019 Circularity Gap Report, published by the Circularity Gap Reporting Initiative (CGRI). This report is launched annually during Davos, and aims to empower key decision makers to coordinate action and accelerate the transition to a circular economy (a movement which supports many of the SDGs and their sub-targets).

The CGRI also provides a global score for circularity, which this year was reported at: 8.6%

That is to say, the vast majority of the resources we consume around the world are not designed with an end-of-use plan, and are destined to end their usable life as waste and nothing more. Our planet’s consumption demands grow every day, leading to higher emissions, more withdrawals from non-renewable resources, and, of course, more waste.

Which prompts the question: how can we possibly achieve the SDGs by 2030 if our system is not designed to sustainably meet the growing demands of the world’s population?

The answer, of course: action

Despite the world economy’s current circularity status, there is immense opportunity in designing out waste. Research conducted by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation indicates that implementing circularity across sectors including mobility, food, electronics and textiles could reduce GHG emissions in Europe, India and China by 22-44% by the year 2050. Not only that, but research also indicates that a transition to circular economy strategies could generate $10.5 trillion in associated benefits annually by 2050.

We are already seeing countries, NGOs and businesses around the world planning action to promote circularity and spark innovative ideas to design out waste, both directly and indirectly:

  • China has committed to phase out single-use plastics, beginning with banning plastic bags in all major cities by 2020
  • Tokyo 2020 Olympic Organizing Committee is on a mission to host the greenest Olympics ever: the Olympic stadium will be solar powered and champion medals will be made of recycled materials
  • BlackRock, the world’s largest wealth management organization has begun shifting capital away from fossil fuels, among other sustainability policies
  • Microsoft has committed to becoming carbon negative by 2030, and aims to remove its historical carbon emissions by 2050.

Here in Atlantic Canada, we are proud to showcase some amazing SME’s leading their industries into a sustainable future:

  • Oberland Agriscience is closing the loop on food waste by incorporating it back into the food chain to produce a sustainable source of protein
  • Sustane Technologies is transforming municipal solid waste into high value fuels and recyclable materials
  • CarbonCure Technologies has made waves globally with its concrete production technology that captures and permanently stores waste CO2

Feeling inspired yet?

These organizations are all doing their part to build up the momentum for the decade of action. Is your organization helping to deliver on the SDGs this decade?

Reach out to our team at Upswing Solutions to learn more about how we can help you transform, scale, and lead your business into action.