Living life to the greenest: the sustainability trends that will dominate in 2022

Positive News spoke to green-living specialists about the trends that will dominate this year.

Numerous people have pledged to fly less. Choose plant-based milks instead of dairy, and a lockdown-sparked surge of interest Growing vegetables and fruits at homeMany people are looking to improve their lifestyles. Experts predict that the trend will continue this year. Here are six of the top trends. 

 

1. Finance that is impact-oriented 

It is a great idea to transfer your money to organisations that place ethics and the environment first. You can do powerful things to address the climate crisis. In the next year, we’ll likely see more people set up accounts with ethical banks, avoiding financial institutions that invest in fossil fuels. Indeed, the Cop26 climate summit was held last November. nearly 40 per centTriodos Bank UK surveyed a number of people to find out if they felt the conference would inspire them to make more sustainable money decisions. 

“People will become savvier in 2022 and realise that banking is about more than just planting a tree for every account opened or having a card made with recycled plastic,” says Gareth Griffiths, head of UK retail banking at Triodos. “These initiatives are all a step in the right direction, but by far the most important factor in terms of impact is the investment and lending focus of the bank.”

Examples of its own lending include community owned solar and wind energy generation, electric car infrastructure, and firms that specialize on designing and refurbishing waterpower projects.

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2. Plant-based foods

A growing awareness of the environmental effects of what we eat and how they affect our environment is a result of Incredible innovations in foods that imitate meat are just a few of the many examplesThe popularity of plant-based foods, such as cheese and fish will continue to grow. ‘Climatarianism’ – a diet focused on reducing your carbon footprint – will rise in popularity.

“Feeling frustrated at the lack of action from governments and corporations, people are looking at what action they can take themselves,” says Sian Conway-Wood, founder of online sustainability community, #EthicalHour and author of Buy Better, Consume Less. “After divesting your money from fossil fuels, reducing your dairy and meat intake is one of the biggest impacts you can make. We’re seeing more options available than ever before across restaurants, takeaways and supermarkets, helping more people choose plant-based food.”

Pay attention to potato milk as it attempts to take over the crown for non-dairy milk in 2022.

People will continue to crave plant-based alternatives. Image via LikeMeat

3. Products and companies that respect nature are the best 

In 2022, consumers will be looking for greener options on their shopping lists. Experts predict that there will be a shift to brands that support biodiversity and rely on regenerative practices, which help to restore communities and ecosystems. 

“People are becoming much more aware of what is in the products they choose to buy, from skincare to homeware, and value is being placed on non-plastic alternatives like wood, linen and so on,” says Georgina Wilson-Powell, editor of sustainable living magazine, Pebble. “There’s also a renewed appreciation of artisan goods, handmade products and locally sourced items.”

4. Sustainable fashion

The pandemic gave many of us a chance to examine our relationship with fast fashion, providing a ‘reset’ opportunity to rethink how we value newness, comfort and quality. A survey by consultants McKinsey found that 58 per cent of people  are now less concerned with fashion, with over 70 per cent saying they intend to keep their clothes for longer. This is good news for the UN estimatesTo make a single pair, 10,000 litres water are required. Gulp.

Many people will look for a minimalist, longer-lasting wardrobe that is also good for the environment in 2022. People will be more attentive to clothing labels and look for eco-friendly materials like organic cotton, hemp, bamboo fibre, and even algae. 

10,000 litres water are required to make a single pair jeans

Secondhand clothing will soon be the first place to go for many, as people search for their favourite labels at discounted prices on sites such Vinted, Facebook Marketplace and Depop. Giving clothes a new lease of life by upcycling – devising innovative ways to spruce up that old dress or shirt – will become de rigueur, as will hiring clothes, thanks to the proliferation of fashion rental sites such as Hurr and Rotaro.

“Sustainable fashion has been growing in popularity for the last few years… and Gen Z are really pushing this trend as they want to shop and wear their values,” says Wilson-Powell. “Secondhand shopping apps and ethical fashion platforms make it easier to choose and find better alternatives to fast fashion.”

5. Circular patterns in consumption

With mass consumption and linear economic growth incompatible with avoiding further climate breakdown, this year we’ll increasingly choose to buy from retailers that work within circular models – think repair, reuse and refill options. Zero waste shops will continue to be popular, and supermarkets’ foray into the world of refill will continue. The beauty industry is getting in on it too, with players such as The Body Shop and Diptyque introducing ‘keep forever’ products. Even perfume companies are starting to experiment with scent refills, with Molton brown and Le Labo among them.

Zero waste jars of food

Zero waste shops will continue their rise in popularity. Markus Spiske.

In 2022 we’ll also see more circular-based community actions – swapping and sharing events, plus repair cafes. “More community initiatives that allow people to repair and share goods will launch as we realise that not all of us need our own drill, for instance,” says Conway-Wood. “It’ll help rebuild community links.”

6. Mindful living 

In the past decade, mindfulness has been mainstreamed. But in 2021, work-life balance issues and mental resilience are front and center. The pandemic saw people reconnecting with nature and the outdoors as a way to better balance the stresses of life, giving us pause for thought on what we truly value. A studyNearly 60 percent of people across 24 countries are now more conscious of their impact on the natural world. This focus on humans’ place within the natural world and how we interact with ‘stuff’, will continue into 2022. 

“We’ve been on the mindless consumer treadmill for so long,” says Conway-Wood. “People are wanting to become more conscious citizens and wake up to the impact they can have on a wider level.”

Main image: Westend61