Topics to watch in 2019

You may have already read our sustainability trend predictions for the coming year, but we couldn't stop there, here are Creative Concern's final five topics to look out for in 2019!

Personal mobility and population health

Although overshadowed by Brexit, the new NHS plan again has shone a light on the fact that escalating pressure on health services with finite budgets makes any population-scale measures to reduce ill health highly attractive. We think the ‘active travel’ agenda of walking and cycling will this year start to fully connect with public health, not least through reduced obesity and improved air quality. Devolved administrations in particular will have more freedom to break down some silos and connect these two agendas together.

 

Food, supply chains and sourcing

The impact of food choices, and those choices made on our behalf by supermarkets and major food brands will move up the agenda this year. This comes as multi-stakeholder initiatives such as the Cerrado Manifesto gain strength, calling for field to fork action across the supply chain where food production is degrading natural ecosystems, generating unsustainable levels of waste and, of course, contributing to climate change.

 

Sustainable Development Goals

In our work, we’ve found the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (launched in 2015) to be evolving as a consistent framework used by corporations, NGOs and cities or regions to assess their own progress on sustainability, superceding other earlier reporting or assessment criteria. We’ve even encountered the SDGs being used as a measure to assess entire campaigns and their impact. We think this can only grow in 2019 and particularly in 2020.

 

Devolved sustainability

Throughout 2018 we worked on areas with city deals, with new metro mayors and with city regions establishing themselves as devolved entities with greater freedom to direct planning policies, transport and even health. So far, there has been less devolution of environmental agendas (and budgets) but we think that, as climate change, energy, air quality, spatial planning and transport all rise further up a new localist agenda, there’s going to be a much more coherent effort made to establish a devolved approach to sustainable development and more shared work, particularly amongst metro mayors, to make it happen.

 

A century of forestry

Our good friends at the Forestry Commission are 100 years old this year and the Community Forests (including City of Trees and Mersey Forest) celebrate their 25th Anniversary. We think these two anniversaries and the continued push to deliver a Northern Forest from Liverpool to Hull, will keep trees, woodlands and productive forestry on the agenda during 2019.