Sustainable Maritime Interiors - 2022 Report

17 The sustainability agenda The need for businesses to shoulder environmental, social and governance (ESG) responsibilities has never been greater. Since the late 1980s, the human footprint has exceeded Earth’s biocapacity, causing an ecological ‘overshoot’! In 2021, Earth Overshoot Day fell on 29 July – the date by which humans had used up the Earth’s biocapacity for that year.1 Published in 1987, The Brundtland Report issued a call to protect the environment, situating development as ‘what we all do’ in any given environment. The report criticised the ‘unsustainable’ development paths of the industrialised nations for their effect on generations to come, stating: “Sustainable development is not a fixed state of harmony, but rather a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development, and institutional change are made consistent with future as well as present needs.”2 Fast forward to 2022 and the issues identified by the report are as relevant and urgent as ever. According to the April 2022 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “Human-induced climate change, including more frequent and intense extreme events, has caused widespread adverse impacts and related losses and damages to nature and people, beyond natural climate variability.” The report warned that the rise in weather and climate extremes has already led to some irreversible impacts as natural and human systems are pushed beyond their ability to adapt.3 Countries, sectors and businesses need to work together to address the wide range of sustainability threats facing the world, including climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. While industry looks to the regulatory framework to address sector-specific impacts, basic compliance with regulations is no longer enough, especially in the context of fresh challenges arising from the rise of digitalisation, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence (AI). The need for rapid uptake of alternative fuels and renewables, driven by geodemographic crises, adds to the existing sustainability pressures companies face. The United Nations Foundation warns that rebounding carbon emissions, extreme weather events and biodiversity loss are among the biggest threats facing countries in 2022.4 These impacts are compounded by the added stress on all earth’s systems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and its environmental, social and governmental consequences. 1 Source: 2 Source: Gro Harlem Brundtland, 1987, The Brundtland Report 3 Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate Change 2022 4 Source: United Nations Foundation, 5 Global Issues to Watch