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We have learned to live with COVID-19 as it shifts from a pandemic to an endemic situation today.
One aspect that this blog article looks at today is how we can relook at sustainability after COVID-19.
The virus has accelerated the adoption of sustainability in the workplace. However, the growth of a green economy is in the hands of both corporations and our consumers.
It has brought a lot of things into perspective, and when asked, 56% of people (and corporations) showed interest in lowering their carbon footprint and daily plastic use.
New sustainable and agile startups are now leading the way, leading big conglomerates to follow in their footsteps.
This is because the way we conduct business or design our infrastructure is entirely reliant on consumer behaviour.
COVID-19 has given businesses a chance to reevaluate, revamp, and refocus to be more sustainable. It offers huge challenges, but also new opportunities in Singapore as well.
How can partnerships help?
In recent years, the business world has shown that it depends on a thriving society, but is still many years away from creating a scale of business partnerships that can completely revamp our economic model.
Many larger corporate companies have partnered with tech startups to leverage a line of cutting-edge technology and achieve greater change on a larger scale.
A perfect example for this is the collaboration between a Canada based tech startup and a French food service that joined forces to convert food waste into biodegradable plastic.
This is just one example that proves that we are all part of a high functioning society and cannot work alone. So, in order for big corporations to succeed, they need to be engaging with startups.
Related Read: The Role of PEO in Business Expansion in Singapore »
Eco-friendly modes of transport are attracting consumers
Sustainable transportation options like cycling have bloomed in the past couple of years.
Apart from them, many ride-sharing services have been fully functional ever since the lockdown restrictions started to ease, and people warmed up to the idea of embracing e-scooters and cycles as their primary means of transportation.
Specialists have realised that most people don’t cycle to work due to the lack of infrastructure that prioritises this mode of transport. The cities were not built with cyclists in mind.
But now, after COVID-19, many government officials are seen cycling to work in order to promote a green environment and quite a few are working towards including cycling infrastructure in city planning schemes that involve protected bike lanes.
These sustainable options are also more cost-effective, particularly in times where petrol prices are at a high, like the current situation in Singapore.
The Ukraine-Russia conflict has pushed up these prices, forcing consumers to look for other less expensive alternatives.
There have also been business initiatives that offer a tax reduction on employees that buy bicycles, which shows that businesses are keen to adopt more sustainable commute options.
Sustainable buildings will dominate the world after COVID-19
While we know that the climate crisis is a critical and pressing issue, real estate is a prominent part of the solution.
When corporations have too much at stake with claims of being green energy and sustainability friendly, their sustainable office buildings are a huge part of the office market for COVID-19.
Sustainable office buildings function either by:
- Reducing the time of commute for employees between their homes or office and even business travel
- Focusing entirely on digitising or maintaining a sustainable design
Different working policies are also underway at many corporations that allow the office space to be used much more efficiently.
Focusing on sustainability in a post-COVID world requires an in-depth knowledge of consumer behaviours and analytical data to back it up.
In this market where quality restructures are taking place to adopt more sustainable options, you need strategic planners who can look out for long-term outcomes.
Ever-changing environments in business settings will require thoughtful and careful reconsideration. It will fall on the managers and upper corporate leaders to promote efficiency, safety and quality in the workplace.
While the consumer demands are changing in a rather rapid fashion, you can identify common trends, the most prominent one being that people are unwilling to sacrifice the environment for their daily comforts anymore.
More investors and builders are basing their entire planning and investments around the idea of a global, sustainable real estate.
Mental health is part of the package
The professional realm has gotten entangled with the comforts of one’s personal realm with over half of the world working remotely from their homes due to the global crisis.
Employers understand the need to support the physical and mental health of their teams and are always looking for different ways to introduce wellness programs that boost morale and team productivity.
Returning to work in a post-COVID era has seen employees rebranding their work stations with meditation pods, more fresh air with green spaces and integrated workplaces that focus on new designs that exude sustainability and open space.
These open space designs can also help alleviate people’s anxieties about in-person activity. This is where technology has been helpful and has given employers the ability to monitor the use of common spaces and track visitor access.
The pandemic also brought into perspective how working from home is a viable option for many positions. Contrary to prior beliefs, working from the office on alternate days may not decrease productivity, but instead, increase it.
Transparency goes a long way
The disruptions related to COVID-19 have also affected supply chains and the focus has now shifted because of consumer preferences to know where their products come from.
There is a high demand for the need to make food systems traceable and more transparent. Traceability systems need to be strengthened and maintained in order to track agricultural products from farm to form.
These kinds of assessments, driven by analytical data, are the key to improving and developing a sustainable business.
- Corporate sustainability refers to the act of running a business without affecting the environment.
- Some examples of corporate sustainability include:
- Eco-friendly transport modes
- Water treatment
- Sustainable design and construction
- Corporate sustainability provides these benefits for businesses:
- Environmental benefits
- Appealing to investors
- Attracts customers and builds trust