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The biggest sustainability wins of 2022 – a round up of the year’s positive environmental news
The biggest sustainability wins of 2022 – a round up of the year’s positive environmental news
News on climate solutions is always a mixed bag, but we want to make sure we acknowledge and celebrate the progress made. So, here’s our round up of the best positive environmental news stories of 2022.December 20, 2022
A mangrove plant at sunset

Working in the climate space, it isn’t always easy to stay positive. Although it’s clear that more action is needed, there are huge breakthroughs being made on climate solutions of all kinds – and we want to make sure we celebrate those successes every step of the way.

So, here’s a roundup of the sustainability wins and positive environmental news stories that gave the Lune team hope in 2022, across:

  • Carbon markets
  • Business sustainability 
  • Climate policy
  • Nature, biodiversity, wildlife conservation
  • Clean energy

And here’s to more stories like these in 2023 🥂

Carbon markets 📈🌱

Of course, at Lune our focus is on the carbon markets, and so we’re always keeping an eye out for news, updates, and progress in this area. 

And there have been plenty of wins in 2022 – despite difficult market conditions. Particularly:

  • Carbon removal goes (more) mainstream: from venture capital investment into carbon removal start ups, to large-scale corporate commitments to fund projects – including the game-changing $925 million Frontier commitment by Meta, Stripe, McKinsey et al, and the NextGen CDR commitment to purchase 1 million pemanent removals by South Pole, BCG, Swiss Re et al – it’s been a huge year in terms of funnelling funding into the early-stage carbon removal projects that hold massive potential as climate solutions. Notably, this has helped to increase momentum and progress particularly in Direct Air Capture as a viable solution for carbon removal. 
A Direct Air Capture plant by 1PointFive
A Direct Air Capture plant by 1PointFive

Climate policy 🏛️ 🪧

Despite sometimes disappointing outcomes (COP27 and the UK’s new coal mine, we’re looking at you), there have been positive news stories around policy introductions across the globe – suggesting governments are starting to make the right moves:

  • The EU introduced several important policies, including: officially adopting the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) which makes environmental reporting mandatory for many companies, the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) imposes a tax on high-polluting goods being imported in the EU, approving France’s ban on short-haul domestic flights where there is a train available.
  • The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in the USA was a huge win for the planet, seeing $369 billion of funding invested in clean energy projects and energy-efficient technology like electric vehicles.

Company emissions 2022 report by acmepay

Nature, biodiversity, wildlife conservation 🪸🐘

There’s still a long way to go to protect wildlife and ecosystems from the threats of climate change – but there have been sustainability wins this year to celebrate:

  • Historic biodiversity deal struck at COP15: most recently, at the COP15 biodiversity conference this December, nearly 200 countries signed a major biodiversity deal, committing to to protect 30% of the planet for nature by the end of the decade, reform $500bn (£410bn) of environmentally damaging subsidies, and restore 30% of the planet’s degraded terrestrial, inland water, coastal and marine ecosystems.

  • Brazil has a new president: Lula da Silva won the presidential election in Brazil, ousting Bolsonaro who has wreaked environmental havoc by enabling the mass deforestation of the Amazonian rainforest. One of Lula’s policy’s was to halt deforestation, so this is great news for the planet.

  • 50 species are coming back from the brink of extinction in Europe: the European Wildlife Comeback report by Rewilding Europe found that 50 struggling species are making a comeback in Europe, from loggerhead turtles to Eurasian otters to humpback whales – partly due to increased legal protection for endangered species.

  • New research gives hope for plant adaptation: research published in Trends in Plant Science found that plants are adapting to our rapidly changing climate faster than expected, and successfully passing adaptations down to offspring too.
A loggerhead turtle, seen swimming
A loggerhead turtle

Clean energy ☀️🔋

Developments on energy that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels could be the biggest sustainability win of 2022 – from fusion to renewables to battery storage. And since clean energy is crucial for the success of many climate projects (e.g. energy intensive Direct Air Capture), this acceleration of progress could unlock other solutions too.

  • Fusion breakthroughs could mean an infinite supply of clean energy. Back in February, the UK-based JET laboratory smashed their own record for the amount of energy produced in their fusion project, producing 11 megawatts of power in 5 seconds. Then, last week, US scientists overcame the major barrier in fusion: creating more energy than they had put in. There’s still a way to go, but this brings the possibility of near-limitless clean energy a big step closer.

  • Progress on renewable energy is speeding up. The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) analysis of the renewable sector in 2022 found that progress has sped up, as countries are using renewables to boost their energy security and reduce reliance on Russian gas, in the face of the Russia-Ukraine war. 19 (of 27) EU countries achieved record wind and solar production this year. Overall, the report predicts the world will add as much renewable energy in the next five years as it did in the last twenty. 

A large solar farm in Chile
Bolero Solar PV Park project in Chile

Business sustainability 💼 🌍

2022 has been a year of companies getting serious about their climate commitments, and we absolutely love to see it 💪 

We can’t possible include all of them here, but here’s a few of our favourite wins in business sustainability:

  • Quality offsetting commitments are on the up and up: from Forto to TrueLayer to GoCardless, we’ve seen a host of big names commit to high-quality offsetting as part of their sustainability initiatives this year – obviously, there’s a long way to go, but it’s hugely encouraging to see. Plus, we can’t forget the launch of the Net Zero Marketplace by Salesforce, changing the game by making quality carbon credits easily available to their customer base of 150,000+ companies.

  • Patagonia becomes owned by Earth: Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, changed the game on business sustainability by officially transferring ownership of the company to a charitable trust, making Earth the sole shareholder and beneficiary of any profit made – in practice meaning around $100 million per year is going towards climate solutions. 

  • A record-breaking year for science-based climate commitments: Science-Based Targets saw a huge increase in sign ups for setting climate goals in line with scientific evidence, reaching over 1,000 companies signed up.

  • Big banks are going green: in 2022 we saw both Lloyds and HSBC make bold decisions to no longer provide finance to new oil and gas projects, sending big signals both to the fossil fuel industry and to other corporations to follow suit. This is strong testament to the power of the consumer voice, with these decisions driven by public backlash, as well as the value of campaigning organisations like Make My Money Matter.

  • The green jobs market continues to grow: thegreen jobs barometer’ report by PwC has found that the number of green jobs advertised in the UK trebled in 2022 – and that trend looks likely to keen on going into next year. 

And the best part? Your company could be on this list in 2023, leading the way on climate in your sector. Get in touch, we’d love to chat about how that could work for you. 

Lune x Salesforce

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