2023 has been marked by climate chaos. In September, 10 different countries and territories experienced severe flooding in just 12 days, smoke from wildfires impacted huge swaths of Europe and the US, and deadly heat waves caused labor disruptions across the globe. New and emerging regulations have correspondingly geared up across the globe. In Europe, the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) kicks into gear in 2024, while in the US, California’s Right to Repair Act, Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act, and the Greenhouse Gases: Climate-Related Financial Risk Act all create nonnegotiable drivers for organizations to measure and report on climate metrics while increasing transparency for consumers.

As businesses brace for more of the same in 2024, here is a sneak peek at some of the key events that Forrester predicts will occur in environmental sustainability:

  • Employee action will force adaptation accommodations at five Fortune 500 firms. Until now, climate-triggered strikes have primarily come from industries such as construction, delivery, and food preparation, where employees either work outdoors or in environments that aren’t climate-controlled. With heat waves now affecting education, commuting, and other aspects of everyday life, we predict that nonunion workers in the US will adopt organized labor’s blueprint, using similar logic to the successful case in the Montana state court and leaning on US OSHA protections “to ensure safe and healthful working conditions” in order to force their companies into policy changes and investments to adapt to the ongoing effects of climate change.
  • Two new unicorn companies focusing on water or air quality will emerge. Wildfires in the Northern hemisphere, pollution in urban areas, and drought and flooding in more areas present new opportunities and challenges in air and water management and demand environmental reporting beyond carbon emissions. In Forrester’s Q4 2022 Global Environmental Sustainability IT Buying Survey, 49% of tech industry respondents said that their organization reports water consumption and wastewater management metrics to shareholders or stakeholders at least annually; 44% said the same about air-quality metrics. If you’re a company that requires these solutions, look for a market that will offer a slew of new choices in both products and services.
  • Three global Fortune 200 manufacturers will introduce major repair and renew services. To better inform consumers about available repair options for a product prior to purchase, France introduced the repairability index for five categories of electronic devices, including smartphones and laptops. It will be replaced in 2024 with a durability index that will require additional information about a product’s full lifecycle. In the US, California, Minnesota, and New York have all passed right-to-repair legislation. Manufacturers must evaluate the market for these services while assessing the need for more durable products. Other companies must decide what to demand of tech suppliers in terms of repairability and lifecycles.

Read our full Predictions 2024: Environmental Sustainability report to get more detail about each of these predictions, plus two more bonus predictions. Set up a Forrester guidance session to discuss these predictions or plan out your 2024 sustainability strategy.

If you aren’t yet a client, you can download our complimentary Predictions guide, which covers our top predictions for 2024. Get additional complimentary resources, including webinars, on the Predictions 2024 hub.