It was a shitty year, but actually a lot of great things also happened in 2022…
I think most of my readers are quite aware of the many challenges we’ve faced during 2022. The list of evils is long – and it doesn’t stop by the backsliding with regard to the 2030 Agenda, the war in Ukraine (which I wrote about in this Newsletter), the climate crises and our inability to fully prevent or deal with its consequences (read more here), the biodiversity crises, food crises, populism and authoritarianism, tensions around Taiwan, economic slow down and the inflation, the crack down on women’s rights in Iran and Afghanistan… to mention some of our shared threats.
However, there were also many good things that happened in 2022 that we should acknowledge. Allow me to point to some of our achievements in this annual review.
The European Parliament and EU member states agreed on a more ambitious emissions trading system, which is expected to reduce industrial carbon emissions. There is a plan for phasing out companies’ free allowances and new sectors, such as transports and buildings, will be included. In addition, more money will be made available to green transition and for green innovations.
Climate change investments in the US. A part of Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act is directed towards investments in clean energy reduction and tax credits for cutting carbon emissions. The bill is controversial in Europe as it favors investments in the US and thereby risks distorting competition, or free trade. However, it is generally seen as giving a boost to green investments as it will increase demand for green energy and green innovations as well as to force other countries to pay more attention to – i.e. find ways of supporting – green investments.
Ethiopia. The war in in and around Tigray calmed down and was replaced by some form of fragile peace. Other countries that seemed to be moving in the right direction include Iraq (which had a new government installed), Mozambique and possibly Yemen.
A new agreement on biodiversity was reached at COP15! After years of negotiations (and postponements) a landmark agreement was reached in Montreal in December. Among other things, a framework and targets were agreed to address pollution, overexploitation, and unsustainable agricultural practices. Perhaps not as grand as the Paris agreement on climate, but hopefully equally influential.
The EU is becoming a sustainability champion! In addition to the Emission Trading System mentioned above, some milestone decisions were taken regarding everything from a provisional agreement reached between the council and the parliament to set up a new fund to help vulnerable citizens most affected by energy and transport poverty, to the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDD). Well, those are not ready yet, you may argue. True, but things are now moving quickly and some of the minimum safeguards regarding not least human rights, are becoming more and more operational. See for example this very useful paper from the platform on sustainable finance (from October 2022) that gives advice on the application of the Taxonomy regulation.
Malaria. Last year a vaccine against malaria was given a go ahead by WHO and there are now hopeful signs of a new, even better vaccine with “world changing potential”. There are still some final trials going on but the vaccine, that is reported to give an 80% protection, is said to be very promising and agreements to produce 100 million doses/year have been signed. This could save millions of lives. Read more
The private sector is taking a lead in the transition! Despite some governments slowing down in the transition towards more sustainable economies, the private sector proved to be quite resilient and has even stepped up. Especially regarding their commitments to the Paris Agreement. (see e.g. this previous Newsletter). Very hopeful.
Green steel. Production of steel is estimated to cause c:a 8% of the worlds CO2 emissions. Good thing than, that green steel from companies such as Swedish Hybrit and H2 Green Steel is (or are about to) start the production of steel more or less without any CO2 emissions. And despite a higher price, there seems to be some demand as well. We need more of it!
Fusion energy. In what the US Department of Energy described as a “major scientific breakthrough”, researchers in California managed to produce more energy from fusion, than the energy needed to power the process. Certainly, a step towards clean energy. Read more.
Protection of forests. The debate on how forests are best used is intense in many parts of the world. However, science seem to be in agreement with regard to the importance of protecting large rainforests, such as the Amazon. The new administration in Brazil, together with Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo reportedly started talks about forming “an OPEC of rainforests”. – and the new minister of environment in Brazil, Marina Silva, is an Amazon activist.
These are but a few of all the good news from 2022!
There are lots of more things to be said for example on fossil free energy, on sustainable investments and impact investments, on science, friendships, peace and love.
If you are specifically interested in innovations, you may want to read this piece, and if you are Swedish speaking and interested in global development, this may be of interest.
So, how was 2022 for We-ness?
Very well, thank you. We have supported and given advice to some eight companies and organization, ranging from pharma and medtech to recruitment, industry associations, an impact company, global development (including the UN) and more.
Among other things I have worked with
-materiality analysis and
-preparing sustainability plans,
-in finding ways of supporting small and medium sized companies in developing economies,
-in strengthening partnerships for impact investments,
-in sustainability reporting,
-in reviewing how companies can become more sustainable and have a greater impact, (including B-corp certification)
-in defining impact,
-with agrobusiness in Albania and with
-concretizing the concept Just Green Transition and
-with the minimum safeguards of the Taxonomy regulation.
-I’ve coached leaders and I have given lectures.
In summary: I have learned a lot and I’m deeply grateful to all the companies and individuals that I’ve worked with for what we have achieved together.
We are all change makers! Happy new 2023!