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By Shana Rappaport, Vice President & Executive Director, VERGE
Like many of you, I’ve freshly returned from holiday travels and am only just beginning to get my head wrapped around what the new year has in store.
Here at GreenBiz, we’ve been doing a great deal of year-end reflection on the technologies and trends that shaped 2018. From transportation tech and circular economy breakthroughs, to insights from our VERGE Vanguards and even books and haikus — we’ve been covering the diverse and promising signals of progress that defined much of the sustainable business world in 2018.
Looking ahead, here are five things that have me personally fired up as we plunge into 2019:
- The rise of regeneration: The idea of business as a force that regenerates rather than degenerates ecological and human systems is on the rise. I wrote a few weeks ago about the significant paradigm shift underway — not just conceptually, but in practice — and spent much of my winter vacation reading A Finer Future, which details a roadmap for creating a regenerative, thriving economy in service to life. We’ll be continuing to cover this critical trend, including how businesses are successfully embracing it — and trust that you and your companies will provide good fodder for our stories in the bold evolution of your own sustainability strategies.
- The acceleration of clean transportation: There’s no question that the shifting tectonic plates of transportation towards a cleaner, greener, more efficient industry will continue in the coming year — representing massive opportunities for both business and the planet. I am incredibly energized by the accelerating momentum of this movement — towards autonomous, shared, connected and electrified mobility — and what everything from coalitions like EV100 to our own work at GreenBiz, under Katie Fehrenbacher’s leadership with VERGE Transport, will produce.
- The circular economy going mainstream: The circular economy is, in short, a game-changer when it comes to what’s possible in the world of not just sustainable but truly regenerative business. As my colleague Lauren Phipps — recently promoted to our Director and Senior Analyst for all things circular — covered last week, 2018 saw landmark progress on everything from alignment across industries to confront plastics pollution, the rise of recommerce, and new business models positioning repair for true commercial viability. I couldn’t be more excited about the launch of our new conference, Circularity 19 (June 18-20 in Minneapolis), and for VERGE and GreenBiz at large to play a central role in defining and accelerating these opportunities.
- The carbon removal market is becoming a thing: As I covered in my last VERGE Weekly newsletter of 2018, there’s a major market trend emerging — and massive business opportunity unlocking — when it comes to reversing global warming. Referred to by many as “carbon removal,” consensus is building that reduction of emissions is no longer enough and that a new carbon economy is being born. As our friend Julio Friedmann noted in a recent Washington Post article, “Carbon removal is now a thing,” having moved rapidly from the sidelines to now being front and center on in the climate conversation. The global success of Project Drawdown is laudable when it comes to mainstreaming the idea that we need to reverse, not just stabilize, global warming — and the role of carbon removal technologies in doing so is something we at GreenBiz plan to continue advancing, too (more on that soon).
- The GreenBiz Group next-leveling: Bringing it home, I couldn’t be more inspired by and confident about our own, continued growth here at GreenBiz. In 2018, we hired seven rockstar team members — and we currently have three open positions for a new Strategic Programs Coordinator, Business Development Coordinator and Marketing Manager. And, on a more personal note, I am deeply excited about stepping up and in to my own leadership driving the growth of VERGE in my new role as the event’s Vice President and Executive Director.
While 2018 had its fair share of setbacks when it comes to advancing climate progress and the clean economy, I’m feeling more energized than ever about what the coming year has in store. After all, there’s nothing like a breakdown to make way for a breakthrough.
Sara E. Murphy
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