Visualizing Sustainable Innovation

Trends / Sustainability
donwogdo
1203392571
Jacqueline Bourke
Jun 3, 2021
Sustainable innovation is key to Europe's future, and in the Covid era, visualising a smart and green Europe has never been more urgent.  Europe has set out to be the world's first climate‑neutral continent by 2050 in line with the UN Paris Agreement. However, there are fears that the pandemic will derail Europe as a global leader in green innovation. The European Investment Bank had warned of a substantial decrease in sustainable investment in 2020, despite the fact that the EU registered 76% more patents that combined green and digital technologies than the US, and four times more than China.  However, there is an opportunity for European brands to use the financial stresses of the pandemic to build greater resilience into their business models while stepping up their ESG efforts and commitments to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Despite European leadership in sustainable innovation, most people do not perceive industries as innovative in relation to the environment, according to Getty Images' Visual GPS research. In order to shift this perception and meet sustainable development goals, inclusive solutions that focus on collaborative transition are needed. Already, inclusive competitions, such as the Annual European Social Innovation Competition, are increasingly encouraging social innovators from all walks of life to find inclusive solutions that will benefit their local and global communities. Brands need to do better at putting inclusion at the heart of their visual stories about sustainable innovation.
"People do not perceive industries as innovative in relation to the environment. In order to shift this perception and meet sustainable development goals, inclusive solutions are needed. "
When choosing visuals, focus on showing the empowerment and emotional rewards that sustainable innovation brings to the lives of real people. Don't forget to be inclusive when representing the people who drive the development of sustainable innovation. Ask yourself: who gets to be seen to innovate, and who gets to be consulted? Visualising a human‑centred and collaborative transition to a net‑zero society that is inclusive of people from all walks of life is key to inspiring sustained inclusive action.

In the last 5 years, our customers have begun to shift away from using conceptual visuals showing lightbulbs and windmills to visualise sustainable innovation. Instead, we are increasingly seeing engineers, technicians and younger apprentices driving the development of newer sustainable technologies. When it comes to sustainable innovation visuals without people, inclusive visual storytelling also applies. Consider your visuals' sustainable credentials: move away from using generic visuals of oceans and forests, and be more specific. For example, choose visuals showing local wetlands with rewilding, reforestation or rewetting projects focusing on biodiversity protection and nature‑based solutions. Or, select real sustainable projects in urban spaces, from e‑mobility to digital transformation at scale.
"Visualising a human‑centred and collaborative transition to a net‑zero society that is inclusive of people from all walks of life is key to inspiring sustained inclusive action."

Visualising Sustainable Innovation

  • Be Purposeful
    Are you showing how sustainable innovation is positively bringing solutions by showing how it is purposely impacting responsible production and consumption for all?
  • Be Inclusive
    Are you putting inclusion at the heart of innovation by showing the empowerment and emotional rewards that sustainable innovation brings to the lives of real people?
  • Show Collaboration Transitions
    Do your visual choices encourage adoption by inspiring collaborative sustainable innovation?
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