COVID-19 is an example that the global economy can, in fact, adapt and change, as did the lives of many people around the world. The imprint of this pandemic will last and have wide ramifications. In particular, for carbon-intensive industries which rack miles up in transport, manufacturing distribution and of course the raw inputs themselves. As Einstein said, in the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity. Our opportunity now is to purposefully carve out economic contours of our society in ways which deliver social and environmental benefits that have been sacrificed for so long. The world may never get back to the level of blind consumerism that reached a crescendo in 2020 and for the planet and its people’s is a good thing. New investments should be run through a climate, ecological, social and cultural risk assessment the results of which help ensure a resilient economy.
What COVID has illustrated is that economic growth, for growth’s sake is not sustainable in any sense of the word- as soon a shock like this hits, it quickly unravels and it is left to government’s around the globe to put the workers whose job depended in these industries, on life support. Areas that support the necessities of life: food, water, housing, social connectivity. For any other economic service that is adjacent to these needs it is especially crucial to prepare for how shocks may eventuate and can be avoided with deference to the tripartite baseline of environmental protection, social security and economic well being. This does not mean to say that gone are the days of globalisation and fragmentation of supply chains, but rather, ones that want to avoid similar shocks to those from COVID-19 need to proactively anticipate what true sustainability looks like in order to deliver stable levels of wellbeing for the planet.