In the December 2019 Quantis Quarterly, we predicted that 2020 would be a landmark year for sustainable business. A year of ambitious actions tackling our world’s most pressing challenges and the dawn of a new era for sustainability. A year that would change it all. 2020 has, indeed, turned out to be a landmark year — though in ways many of us could not have predicted. At Quantis, we’re as determined as ever to make 2020 a Super Year for sustainable business.
Covid-19 has exposed and exacerbated acute, longstanding vulnerabilities in the structures and systems that underpin today’s globalized economy. In particular, it has laid bare the fragility of a reactive, single-source supply chain model, which has disrupted industries as diverse as food, fashion, travel and hospitality. Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz sums it up perfectly in an interview with the New York Times, “We built an economy with no shock absorbers. We made a system that looked like it was maximizing profits but had higher risks and lower resiliency.”
2020 isn’t canceled, but rather the most important year of them all.
As the world begins to turn its attention towards recovery, the question of how to build back better is taking center stage. Certainly, resilience will not result from a return to the status quo. To rebuild and emerge stronger than before, social and environmental sustainability must be at the core of recovery actions. Climate change presents many of the same risks to the economy and human well-being as the current global health crisis. The decisions companies make now will determine how their businesses — and the economy as a whole — will fare in the face of future shocks.
The good news is: the seeds of change are already being sown. Sustainability has managed to stand up to the pandemic. And over the past several months, we’ve seen businesses demonstrate real ingenuity and agility and make changes they previously thought impossible. Now, many are beginning to challenge ingrained practices and approaches that have exposed them to significant risks during the crisis. Apparel, one of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic, shifted production almost overnight to make masks and other essentials for front-line workers. The industry is now questioning the traditional fashion calendar — and the cycles of consumption it encourages — with many top brands abandoning it entirely. Meanwhile, in food and beverage, the conversation is focused on shifting towards smaller scale, locally powered supply chains and new models of distribution to build resilience against future shocks while also reducing food waste. Another good sign: Recovery packages centered around sustainability and climate action are gathering momentum — and they’re being driven by business.
Change is never easy, but business has shown that it’s ready to rise to the challenge. We’re here to guide you every step of the way, and we’ve been making some strategic changes of our own to better support you on your journey toward sustainable transformation.
Together we can go further, faster and make 2020 the pivotal year it needs to be for society and for our planet.
Talk to us to explore how you can #BuildBackBetter.