Covid-19 and why sustainability matters more than ever

In the midst of the Covid19 crisis, people are questioning whether working towards net-zero goals matters when thousands of lives are being lost and the economies of entire nations are under threat.

The answer is of course a resounding ‘Yes’. Decarbonisation goals do matter and those of us working in cleantech industries have a responsibility to ensure that post-pandemic, the ‘new normal’ prioritises carbon neutral, sustainable solutions to energy, e-mobility and many other sectors.

What this crisis has done is brought into focus the benefits of living on a planet that is less polluted, has cleaner air to breathe and less traffic on our roads.

We need to hold on to that vision as we rebuild our lives and economies.

New Delhi's India Gate War Memorial:

[Photograph: Anushree Fadnavis/Adnan Abidi/Reuters]

Long-term exposure to pollution is well-known to damage our lungs, and preliminary research suggests that there is a link between higher levels of pollution and deaths from coronavirus. Previous research showed air pollution increased deaths during the 2003 Sars outbreak.

The stark reality is that pollution is killing orders of magnitude more people than the pandemic. Marshall Burke of Stanford University’s Department of Earth Science estimates that the fall in pollution during China’s lockdown in January and February likely saved 20 times more lives than were lost due to infection with the virus.

It's encouraging that cities like Milan, one of Europe’s most polluted cities, and Paris, have already announced ambitious schemes to reduce car use after lockdown. Instead of delaying the world’s transition to net-zero approaches to transport, power and heat, our hope is that this pandemic will accelerate the shift.

Accelerating the transition to clean technologies doesn’t have to be at the expense of the economy.

The government predicts that the UK low-carbon economy could grow by an estimated 11% per year through to 2030, four times faster than the rest of the economy and delivering between £60bn and £170bn of export sales.

Your business has a huge opportunity to contribute to the economic recovery while supporting the sustainability agenda.

If you need help to develop a positive plan for growth, get in touch and ask us for a copy of our latest ‘how to’ document: Marketing planning for a sustainable world.