Top 5 Environmental improvements of 2017

There are a number of trends every year in each industry, so we’ve seen some obvious winners in 2017 that are driving environmental improvements across industries. Here are our top five:

Using scale to affect change
As various industries face increasing environmental challenges such as sustainable sourcing and transparency, organizations have made headlines in 2017 for joining together in initiatives, using their scale to increase their reach beyond what a single company could accomplish. Food and bev giants formed coalitions to tackle supply chain issues, particularly regarding palm oil and deforestation, for example, and automotive companies and suppliers are working together to ensure sustainability of the rubber supply chain.

Water, water everywhere
As water challenges – availability, increasing cost, risk of water scarcity – bubble to the forefront of the global environmental consciousness, companies are implementing (and touting) water management initiatives.

Environmental management technology booms
Technology in environmental management is thriving, and expected to continue to thrive, according to a variety of reports this year. To name a few areas of strong growth: Smart water management, industrial water treatment, industrial IoT, EHS tech, and 3D printing.

Investors continue to add portfolios of companies based on their environmental impacts and initiatives. Additionally, investors are urging the companies they’re interested in bankrolling to report not just on their sustainability initiatives but also to share potential risks they face from climate change.

And speaking of risk, more and more organizations are willing to publicly address the risk they face in terms of climate change, particularly following severe weather events like this year’s major hurricanes. Companies sharing how their long-term business goals may be affected and the steps they are taking to address those risks. Take ExxonMobil, for example.

Looking forward to watching these trends continue to evolve in 2018.


Mark van Engelen is founder Nya Sustainability Consulting, a consulting firm helping organizations implement sustainability. Services include sustainability strategy development, zero waste planning, GHG emissions calculating and planning, energy/water management, employee engagement and guidance in B Corp and carbon neutral certification.

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