Sustainability trends following the COP26 Climate Conference


In the wake of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), the climate emergency is at the forefront of many issues we’re facing – not only on a national scale, but a global one.

The conference, which was held in Glasgow from 31st October to 12th November, addressed a wide range of problems contributing to the climate crisis. The main topics discussed included CO2 and methane emissions, coal usage, fossil fuel subsidiaries, deforestation, and the industrialisation efforts of third-world countries, as part of a plan to bring our collective sustainability practices to the forefront of our global focus.

What was the outcome of the COP26 conference?

There was a host of takeaways from the conference, with leading countries agreeing to address issues within their own borders and collectively reduce the damage we’re causing as a group.

According to the BBC, the main agreements were:

  • The US-China Agreement: As the countries who emit the most CO2, both pledged their cooperation over the next 10 years to reduce methane emissions and focus on the switch to clean energy.
  • Planting trees: More than 100 countries promised to stop deforestation by 2030, which could help 85% of the world’s forests.
  • Emissions: More than 100 countries also agreed to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030, as well as further cuts to CO2 emissions.
  • Coal: The initial proposal was to ‘phase out’ coal usage, although India and China both fought to change the wording to ‘phase down’ due to concerns as to how the removal of coal as a resource would affect their respective countries.

Differing reactions

There are differing opinions on the outcomes of the conference. The Prince of Wales seemed happy with the result, stating the conference was ‘amazing’ and had ‘quite a lot of success,’ while Mary Robinson, chair of The Elders, an independent group of world leaders, stated that ‘COP26 has made some progress, but nowhere near enough to avoid climate disaster.’

Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa, was bitterly disappointed with the outcome, saying there was a lack of consideration made by richer countries to compensate for the loss and damage that developing countries are suffering due to the crisis. Adow stated that, ‘the needs of the world’s vulnerable people have been sacrificed on the altar of the rich world’s selfishness.’

The issues brought up in the COP26 conference will likely be addressed again in the next conference, which will take place between 7th-18th November 2022 in Egypt, giving developing countries another chance to express their concerns and hopefully see better results. 

Sustainability trends at home

While world leaders have discussed the impact of countries as a whole, sustainability practices within our own households have long been in discussion. A report published by Attest explores the sustainability trends we’re currently experiencing and will be in the years to come.

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The meat industry and sustainability

The meat industry

One of the topics raised in the report is meat consumption. As many are already aware, meat production in the UK accounts for a large percentage of our total emissions, which is pushing a lot of environmentally-conscious people into eating less meat.

According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, domesticated animals are responsible for around 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans, a figure which climbs to 14.5% when considering feed production, transport and similar factors.

In their report, Attest explored whether supermarkets could increase the number of shoppers buying vegan alternatives to meat by placing vegan products in the same place as meat products instead of confining them to their own section.

In a survey conducted with both UK and US shoppers, 32% of non-vegan buyers said they’d purchase vegan products if they were kept alongside meat products. This is a rise from the 16% of non-vegan buyers who said they’d buy vegan products that were kept in their own dedicated section.

On top of this, ‘money-saving deals’ was ranked as the number one reason that both UK and US non-vegan shoppers would make the change to vegan products. This is unsurprising, as many vegan alternatives can carry an expensive price tag in comparison to meat and dairy products.

As a result, Attest has advised large supermarkets to consider the data when placing products; something which could see non-vegan buyers make a switch to meat-free on some occasions.

Electric vehicles

Many drivers are aware of the government plans to ban the production and sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. Logically, this has pushed a lot of motorists to go green for their next vehicle and buy an electric car.

In a survey of 500 British drivers, Attest found that 6% already own an electric vehicle, while another 11% intend to buy one within the next year. Another 22% stated that they’d buy an electric car within the 2 to 3 years, while 21% said 3 to 5 years was more likely. 19% of drivers, however, stated that they had no intention to buy an electric or hybrid vehicle.

However, in the same way that the price tag is stopping a few shoppers from buying meat-free, Attest discovered that the main concern for British motorists was the cost attached to buying an electric car. Despite government grants for those buying new plug-in vehicles, the price has remained out of reach of many drivers.

In the future, as electric vehicles become more commonplace, we’ll be sure to see prices reduce across the board. Hopefully, this will open up the market to drivers who would like to go green, but simply can’t afford to in the current climate.

If the past decade is anything to go by, we’ll undoubtedly see more of a focus on the climate crisis in the coming years, as urgency surrounding the issue grows. If you’d like to make the shift towards a green future within your own household, there are plenty of sustainability practices you can adopt within your own four walls. You can read more about sustainability at home in this handy guide.

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Electric vehicles and sustainability
Information from AskAttest.com