Expert Predictions For Sustainability In 2024

2024 marks a turning point in the global quest for sustainability, as environmental challenges become increasingly intertwined with economic and social factors.

This piece delves into a series of expert predictions, highlighting what the future of sustainability could look like, and how we are set to redefine our approach to preserving the planet for future generations.


Our Experts

  •  Scott Harrison, Director of Strategy and Innovation at Experian
  • Rebecca Armstrong, Managing Director at Making Energy Greener
  • Steven Athwal, Founder at The Big Phone Store
  • Rachel Delacour, CEO and Co-Founder at Sweep
  • Dr. Andrew White, Director of the Advanced Management and Leadership Programme at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School
  • Crijn Bouman, Co-Founder and CEO at Rocsys
  • Leyla Alieva, CEO of NEOL Copper Technologies
  • Diane Gilpin, Co-Founder of Smart Green Shipping
  • Mauro Cozzi, Co-Founder at Emitwise
  • Christophe Girardier, CEO and Co-Founder of Glimpact
  • Andy Jenkinson, CTO at Varda
  • Raffi Schieir, Founder of Prevented Ocean Plastic
  • Harry Pearson, Senior Associate at Browne Jacobson
  • Alonso Marly, Skylux Travel
  • James Doherty PhD, Co-Founder & Director at Plastic-i


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Scott Harrison, Director of Strategy and Innovation at Experian 



“The bar for climate risk clarity will continue to be raised for all businesses as regulations stiffen and market expectations grow. All businesses will inherit the regulatory pressure on large corporates and financial services firms to ensure the climate risk data they utilise is embedded into the heart of their Risk Management Frameworks and moves from estimates to high quality, consistent and granular assured data.  

“What it will mean is that whether a business is a supplier, borrowing or an enterprise or SME, they will need to ensure they can quantify their own climate risk profile to feed into the requirement of listed corporate customers and lenders around ESG disclosures.  

“In addition, businesses will need to fully understand that once an initial baseline has been set around climate risk, financial institutions will begin to look at how to reduce their lending portfolio emissions. This could include recruiting new customers that fit a desired emissions profile or decisioning based on emissions intensity. Critical to success will be the ability to accurately measure impact as well as risk.

“2024 needs to be the year all businesses take the time to review their climate risk data and measurement tools but also truly understand the challenges they face. This includes understanding that there will be further alignment between climate and traditional credit risk, as these new directives and standards will shine a light on the businesses not working towards a low carbon economy.”


Rebecca Armstrong, Managing Director at Making Energy Greener



“My predictions for 2024 underscore the urgent need for innovative solutions in the face of climate change. Making Energy Greener is committed to leading the charge in this transformative era, focusing on sustainable practices and technologies that benefit both the environment and society. My predictions include:

“Significant Developments from COP 28: Expectations are set for major environmental agreements, which will bolster our company’s endeavours in energy efficiency and carbon reduction.

“Green Finance Boom: A surge in green finance is anticipated, particularly in energy-efficient measures for homes. This aligns with our mission to enhance home energy efficiency across the UK.

“Increased Investment in Renewable Energy: Funding for air source heat pumps and solar energy is expected to rise, reflecting a growing commitment to renewable energy sources.

“Expansion in Renewable Energy and Efficiency: The goal to triple renewables and double energy efficiency resonates with our commitment to sustainable energy solutions.

“Lower Energy Bills for Renewable Users: Households with renewable energy sources are likely to see reduced energy bills, incentivising the shift to greener energy.

“New Legal Obligations for Environmental Responsibility: Post-election, we anticipate more stringent legal requirements for businesses and households to reduce fossil fuel reliance.

“Incentives for Higher Energy Performance: Potential incentives are expected for properties to achieve higher Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings, which could revolutionise the housing market.

“Demand for Green Cooling Solutions: Rising global temperatures will increase the demand for sustainable cooling solutions, a key area of focus for our company.”


Steven Athwal, Founder at The Big Phone Store



“2023 was a record year for sustainable business, with record levels of recycling and renewable energy investment. It was also a record year for the circular economy, with refurbished devices, and related services like smartphone battery replacement, seeing an unprecedented surge of consumer interest in the UK. While reduction and recycling have been the darlings of sustainability until now, 2024 will be the year when re-use and refurbishment take centre stage.

“Using second-hand devices has never been as glamorous as buying brand-new devices that have a green label slapped on them, but the fact remains that re-using products wherever possible is a far more effective way of reducing environmental impact than recycling. Last year, The Big Phone Store was one of hundreds of signatories for the UK’s Repair and Re-Use declaration.”


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Rachel Delacour, CEO and Co-Founder at Sweep



“Sustainability data is poised to become just as important as financial data for companies in 2024 and beyond.

“New regulations like the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and the Task Force on Nature  (TCFN) framework mean auditors will scrutinise climate and ESG metrics like never before. Companies will need to have rigorous, reliable non-financial data that can stand up to auditor expectations. These risks extend beyond compliance – those seen lagging will also reap reputational damage for failing to meet stakeholder expectations.

“As climate risk becomes an integral part of enterprise risk management, tech provides the visibility companies need into their value chain emissions. Carbon accounting software will play a major role in equipping teams with the ability to capture granular emissions data from themselves and their supply chain to take targeted actions.

“Regulators and investors now expect substantive sustainability commitments, not just lofty visions. As non-financials become integral to how companies create and protect value, we believe 2024 will usher in a new era of climate accountability, transparency, and ambition enabled by technology.”


Dr Andrew White, Director of the Advanced Management and Leadership Programme at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School



“This is the year of callouts for CEOs of businesses which aren’t keeping pace on sustainability. From the historic COP28 commitment to “transition away” from fossil fuels, to UK electricity generation from gas and coal being at its lowest since 1957, the dial is moving and leaders who don’t follow it will be exposed.

“Shell is a case in point. Last year alone, we saw activist investor Follow This put forward a resolution calling for more ambitious climate targets at Shell’s AGM… and receive 20% support from shareholders. We saw the Advertising Standards Authority ban “misleading” adverts about the environmental impact of Shell’s energy production activities. And we saw employees issue an open letter to CEO Wael Sawan calling out his energy transition strategy.

“If a behemoth like Shell can face so much pressure, both internally and externally, over sustainability, then it can happen at any company – and expect to see more of this in 2024. We should welcome it because when so many different groups – from investors to regulators to employees – have a voice to hold CEOs accountable, it harms the ability of companies to pursue short-term profits over long-term sustainability goals.”


Crijn Bouman, Co-Founder and CEO at Rocsys




“In 2024, we will see electric vehicles complete their penetration into all sectors of the former ‘petrol economy’, including ports, logistics and industrial applications. EVs have already grabbed significant market share among passenger vehicles, and as awareness of their benefits grows, alongside the infrastructure to support them, they will become more prevalent across all sectors of the economy, including ports, logistics and industrial application. Meanwhile, in order to keep up with the maintenance of all of these vehicles, automated charging robots will offer complementary services to automatically charge the vehicles.

“Separately, the China-USA battle for self-driving leadership will accelerate. Self-driving technology is seen as a critical and strategic technology for the future of both countries, with China pouring massive investment into self driving. In 2023, US players became increasingly nervous and sought more government support. In the run up to the US election next year, I expect this to become a key battleground between the two countries characterised by additional support from government, major new product launches and technological advances by industry, and publics increasingly used to self-driving functionality in their daily lives.

“And after ChatGPT revolutionised the digital world in 2023, EVs will be the entry point for AI into our physical world in 2024. We will start to see AI applications in the physical world entering people’s daily lives through this year, with cars and driving leading the way. Thanks to advances in AI, I expect 2024 to be the year when we see the first serious automated vehicle deployments, in the USA and China, in addition to automated driving functions becoming more commonplace on public roads. I also expect we will see automated valet parking in passenger cars, complemented with automated charging robots for EVs, all within the next 12 months.”


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Leyla Alieva, CEO of NEOL Copper Technologies


Neol Copper Technologies | LinkedIn


“The world is coming to the realisation that climate change does not have a single solution, rather, it’s an open-end problem. Every solution that contributes to consuming fewer resources or making ‘dirty fuels and oils cleaner’ counts, which is where lubricants can contribute greatly. They can play an important role in improving the energy efficiency of sectors that have heavy diesel usage, such as shipping or mining, and can improve the longevity of large industrial machinery, enabling them to run longer, which in turn can reduce the energy consumption required to manufacture those parts. New lubricants entering the market, next year and beyond, are also more sustainable with additive technologies able to produce high-performance oils that are free from harmful SAPS (sulphated ash, phosphorus, and sulphur).

“I see lubricants as one of the trendsetters in 2024. The industry will take its rightful place among the ranks of climate change fighters, providing quicker and less radical solutions to pressing issues – allowing time for other technologies to mature.”

“From a global lubricants perspective, machinery lubrication and it’s contributing abilities to fighting climate change has been largely misunderstood, and undervalued. Lubricating oils and greases have been perceived as part of the oil and gas industry, rather than an integral component of mechanical efficiency, and therefore part of the “dirty” fuels that are used. By switching to cleaner lubricants and oils the world can make machinery and mechanical components more efficient, more reliable and greatly increase fuel efficiency too. With lubricants and oils becoming far more sustainable, the environment benefits significantly too.”


Diane Gilpin, Co-Founder of Smart Green Shipping



“The urgent need for new climate infrastructure is evident, yet investments into this sector are still insufficient and inconsistent. There are logical reasons for this – big infrastructure projects are capital intensive, usually with longer payback periods and a high degree of uncertainty. But investors live on this planet too and they are beginning to feel the very painful economic shocks from a lack of climate action. Those who understand that protecting the climate is just as important as capital – and in fact necessitates making capital – will make green tech solutions a priority, whether the solutions are long or short term.

“In my world – shipping – a range of alternative fuels are being discussed and developed to power a zero emission world, but most are decades away from being available at scale, and all of them have an extremely high cost burden for ship operators. They are seen as unpredictable long-term solutions and so are not so appealing for investors.

“However, there are solutions which can make an immediate impact, such as Smart Green Shipping’s wingsail technology that can reduce emissions and cut fuel costs now. These benefits resonate deeply with the market and in turn pique the appetites of investors for green innovations that show a more immediate impact – and this is something which I expect, and hope, to see continue throughout 2024”.


Mauro Cozzi, Co-Founder at Emitwise


Beyond Offsetting: Emitwise CEO Challenges Businesses to Take Action on Supply Chain Emissions - Business Leader News


“As we embark on 2024, the sustainability landscape is undergoing a transformative shift. Pioneering companies are not merely aiming for compliance; they are becoming the catalysts of climate action. This year marks a pivotal moment where businesses go beyond regulatory obligations. The focus is on active engagement and support for suppliers to integrate comprehensive emissions accounting into their operations. Forward-thinking companies are setting a new standard, expecting suppliers to play an active role in achieving ambitious decarbonisation goals.

“In 2024, sustainability is not a checkbox; it’s a collaborative journey. Businesses are recognising the interconnectedness of their operations and supply chains, acknowledging the need for a unified effort to make carbon reductions possible and profitable.”


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Christophe Girardier, CEO and Co-Founder of Glimpact



“Understanding the full extent of environmental issues impacting businesses requires more than focusing only on carbon emissions. True sustainability requires assessing all risks for informed decision-making, its about more than only focusing on carbon emissions.

The UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, despite its importance, adopted a narrow approach. It concentrated on mostly carbon emissions, overlooking other systemic ecological crises. This limited view neglects essential factors like fine particle emissions, resource depletion, and biodiversity, crucial for sustainable corporate practices and investor security.

The EU’s PEF/OEF methodology for environmental regulations demands a broader vision. This shift from a carbon-centric view to a comprehensive environmental perspective is vital. C-suite executives that recognize the full complexity of sustainability will better navigate global risks in the coming year.”


Andy Jenkinson, CTO at Varda



“In terms of sustainability in the agricultural sector, the COP28 agreement to include agriculture within climate targets may mean we begin to see the beginning of a necessary shift from sideline ‘regenerative agriculture projects’ into the mainstream commodity sourcing supply chains.

“At fairs and industry meetings, I’ve seen a strong will to innovate and find solutions, with new digital tools being rolled out attempting to leverage the abundant data that is produced by farming and supply-chain activities. In fact, we already have the technology and methods to effect real change: the sheer scale of farming means changing agricultural practices is an enormous opportunity. The problem is the difficulty of fairly incentivising it. Whether it is done through subsidy, preferential pricing or secondary ‘credit’ revenue streams, all of them require surfacing evidence where the change occurs: on the field. Some of that can be done in a scalable way remotely; in other cases it requires operational data collected on-farm.

“A key enabler is to embed traceability all the way down to the field into existing supply chains. If you don’t keep records about where a batch of grain came from, you can’t differentiate and influence the decisions that growers have to make, because you don’t know what to measure. Complex, intermediated supply chains don’t make this easy, but it must become a reality in 2024 as the EU deforestation-free supply chain regulations come into force. If implemented well, that lays the foundation to differentiate other practices too.

“Unfortunately with many farmers and agricultural businesses using different digital tools, a lack of integration means data fragmentation inhibits the potential of collective insights. Integrating everything is a prohibitively complex and expensive task, so if regenerative agriculture is going to go mainstream, interoperability standards and simplification of the methods used to share data (i.e. things that are easy for smallholder farmers and small businesses to implement) has to be dealt with as an industry action, as the current setup of the data infrastructure does not scale.”


Raffi Schieir, Founder of Prevented Ocean Plastic



“2024 is the year the highly anticipated and legally binding UN Plastic Treaty will be finalised. As negotiations continue through the year, we expect plastic pollution to be high on the sustainability agenda as a global mandate to deal with our plastic problem is agreed. So far negotiations have showed some promise, but obstacles such as fossil fuel companies and lobbyists pushing against production curbs has stalled progress. Now, debate will intensify as we get ever closer to reaching a final agreement.

“We need businesses to be supporting practical, tangible solutions to the problems at hand, rather than looking to offset it in the short-term. It’s not about eliminating every type of plastic, and leaving a gap in the market for the people and businesses who rely on them, but it’s about making sure there are systems in place as to how it is managed throughout its life-cycle. This must include listening to the waste collectors who are on the front lines of this initiative. Supporting and promoting the circular economy gives us the ability to further incentivise collection, and to ensure that all plastic has a second life rather than ending up in the ocean, landfill, or being burned. The time for action is now.”


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Harry Pearson, Senior Associate at Browne Jacobson



“After a relatively positive 2023, we are expecting to see VC funds continue to invest in sustainability-focussed UK tech start-ups in 2024. This report from dealroom and HSBC Innovation Banking found that ClimateTech companies received close to 20% of all UK VC funding last year. The same data shows a year-on-year increase in the total amount invested by VCs in ClimateTech companies, all against a backdrop of reduced VC investment overall.

“That money doesn’t get around some of the inherent difficulties these start-ups face though and there remains a disparity between software and hardware propositions – the latter higher-risk with typically more capital-intensive and longer routes to market, whilst being impacted by real-world issues such as supply chain woes.

“We aren’t expecting these challenges to be solved in 2024, but we are hopeful that growth of specialist investors at all stages will give everyone involved the necessary confidence in long-term funding being available. Moving through funding rounds has been an issue in the past, for example, in 2022 total investment in Series A rounds was £637m, while total investment in Series B was £478m.

“Extreme weather events including recent UK flooding will also likely see more development of technologies managing the real-world impacts of climate change in 2024.

“Politicians have a big part to play. Recent decisions such as the postponement of the ban on new petrol and diesel powered cars and the scrapping of HS2 haven’t given confidence in long-term policymaking. With an election coming up in the UK (and don’t mention the US) there’s a risk that sustainability initiatives are further side-lined and the UK will need to keep pace with the EU’s prioritisation of climate policy to stay competitive.”


Alonso Marly, Skylux Travel



“Sustainable travel has been one of the hottest topics in recent years as travelers seek ways to explore the world more responsibly. This shift in mindset is driving some new trends and reshaping the travel landscape.

“For years, aviation has received a lot of blame for its impact on the environment; however, the industry has also made tremendous progress – over the last decade alone, aircraft fuel efficiency has improved by 2% each year, according to ATAG. Increased sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production is the key to introducing positive changes in the future, as it has the potential to reduce emissions by up to 80%.
Lufthansa is among the first airlines to use SAF in its regular operations and has recently introduced CO2-neutral flying for both private and corporate customers. Additionally, Airbus is developing the first zero-emissions commercial jets to be powered by hydrogen and rolled out by 2035. Meanwhile, UK-based Hybrid Air Vehicles plans to launch a helium-filled, hybrid-electric airship with zero emissions by 2030.

“2024 promises to be another pivotal year for travel, with sustainability taking the spotlight. At this point, it has become more of a lifestyle than a trend, whether we choose to adapt to its evolution or not.”


James Doherty PhD, Co-Founder & Director at Plastic-i


Insights from our data help make evidence-based policy decisions that tackle marine plastic… | by James Wakibia | Oct, 2023 | Medium


“In 2024, the sustainability ecosystem will likely focus significantly on ocean health, aligning with the UN Ocean Decade’s objectives. There will be an increasing emphasis on biodiversity, recognizing its critical role in ecosystem stability, and on blue carbon capture and storage. Technological innovation and global collaboration will be increasingly influential.

“Key trends will likely include the integration of AI and advanced data analytics in environmental monitoring, offering more precise and timely insights for sustainable decision-making. These will be supported by the exploitation of satellite imagery, offering expansive and detailed monitoring. Emerging technologies, particularly large language models (LLMs), will be exploited to enhance AI services, offering more nuanced and comprehensive environmental analysis. These approaches will augment and complement traditional approaches to environmental management. These trends reflect a broader shift towards embracing technology as a critical tool in achieving sustainability goals and addressing climate change challenges.

On Plastic-i: Our company leverages AI in tandem with satellite technology for advanced environmental monitoring. We specialize in tracking marine health, particularly focusing on plastic pollution and biodiversity in the oceans. Our AI-driven analysis provides accurate, actionable data crucial for understanding and mitigating environmental impacts, thereby supporting governments, businesses, and NGOs in achieving their sustainability objectives.”


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