There has been a clamouring consensus in recent years that we’re getting closer and closer to the climate’s point of no return, but the green revolution has begun. We’ve also been living through an ever-encompassing technological revolution, driven by digital technology. COVID-19 shut down the world in a way that has never happened before but this provides a great opportunity to restart the economy with a new focus on both the digital and green sectors.
I remember when I started working in marketing in the early 2000s and marketing was virtually entirely done offline. The only thing we really did online at that point was to send emails and search Google. Social media platforms had yet to be invented and digital marketing was a thing that most people argued would never catch on.
Fast forward two decades and smartphones and laptops are ubiquitous and this has dramatically changed the lives of every member of society. We’ve built a business around SEO and social media marketing and content marketing, all services that didn’t really exist when I started out in marketing. The world has changed, but it needs to change more and that change has to be green.
You can access the virtual summation of human knowledge at your fingertips, you can shop for almost any product you want and you can engage with almost every service you need through an app without having to speak to another human being.
Over the last ten years, GrowTraffic has helped countless businesses move into the online sphere. During my career, I’ve taken many businesses online or even through to the second or third iteration of their internet offering.
This has been lead by the adoption of the internet by businesses and consumers. This is because of the decreasing barriers to entry. Let’s face it, half of the technology we rely on for the safe operation of the internet was invented by some nerdy internet hero in their gloomy back bedroom. As an SEO consultant, originally setting up GrowTraffic as a freelance SEO consultancy, I have a first-hand perspective on this.
The Green revolution is slightly different. The Green revolution has been taking hold for many decades. I remember Europe’s green political parties gaining relevance and green pressure and protest groups dominating the news at various points of my childhood. But it didn’t seem to get off the ground. Probably the reason for this was oil was cheap. Well, guess what, oil is no longer cheap when compared to green technology.
The Green revolution has been a fringe political movement that has increasingly become more mainstream as it has been integrated into economic and political philosophies, but also as the science becomes glaringly more obvious.
We have been told that we are around a decade away from a tipping point beyond which it will take millennia for the climate to recover – if it can recover at all.
But technology companies have been quickly progressing the new development of new green technologies. When you think about these technologies you’re probably going to be thinking about wind turbines, electric cars etc. They’re big technologies that have required huge investment from government in order to get those industries off the ground. But there is also a whole range of applications and solutions that are less expensive or at least have taken less focus from the centre to get off the ground. Obvious ones include relatively cost-effective solutions such as insulation and digital heat management solutions in houses. And heating homes is probably one of the biggest polluters we face today.
And we’re seeing the proliferation of charging points throughout the country as electric cars start to quietly make their ways into our everyday lives. Again, these are big infrastructure things that need help from big business and big government to make them happen.
We’re also going to see our foods increasingly changing, with the perfection of ‘not-meat’ burgers and other plant-based food, to the inclusion of insect-based proteins, that don’t rely on large heavily polluting animals.
Digital And Green Revolution Must Combine In The Post COVID-19 World
The digital and green revolutions are now ideally positioned to combine in a post-Coronavirus Crisis world. And we’ll see more people arguing and agitating for change, but moreover, we’ll see more adoption of this kind of technology.
The rapid digital transformation during the COVID-19 pandemic is increasingly demonstrating the digital revolution’s ability to easily aid social distancing and other policies – such as track and trace – that are crucial to defeating the virus.
Digital products, such as Zoom, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Slack, Messenger, Asana, have all gone a long way to ensure businesses can continue to trade through working from home schemes. GrowTraffic was first developed into an SEO agency by home workers and we’ve always managed to keep that fundamentally at the heart of what we do. So when it went to the lockdown, we knew we had the processes and systems to make sure we could get through it.
In Britain, we’re going to see a growth in retrofitting the housing stock to make it more efficient. In Rossendale, we have a wide range of stone properties with solid walls all running on gas boilers. Just in our little valley, there are tens of thousands of houses that need to be upgraded. You say that around our base in South Yorkshire too. Multiply this by the tens millions of houses around the country that need updating and I think you get a sense of what the Green revolution could do. And when a big part of that is about digitalising the efficiency of the solution you can see how the need to rebuild the economy following the COVID-19 Crisis could be the stimulus we’ve been looking for.
We see Amazon’s automated warehouses and the level of automation in factories and systems deliver phenomenal results during this period, enabling many businesses to continue to operate with a skeleton staff. Indeed, it’s likely many businesses will see how effective they were when they worked under lockdown and surely they’ll be asking if they really need so many staff.
Cost-Effective Solutions Will Win
And digital and green revolutions will increasingly intertwine. The Green revolution will not win because it has saved the environment, despite that being the goal, the Green Revolution will win when it’s become more cost-effective than the old solutions. We’ve seen the role of digital technology in the form of automation and the so-called internet of things in increasing efficiency in our everyday lives in the same way they are currently doing in warehouses and factories throughout the commercial sector.
We can also see the way digital marketing is contributing to the reduction in offline shopping habits, by being able to hyper-target consumers with specific products, when they are ready to buy. Just think about those Google Ads or Facebook Ads that following you around showing you the specific product you’re interested in buying. At what other time in human history has a product or service be able to be delivered to a prospect just at the time they are likely they buy. There’s no need for a consumer to do what they used to do in my childhood, which way go from shop to shop each weekend for months trying to make a big purchase decision. New shopping habits can have a huge impact on the way we travel and the impact that has on the environment.
It’s essential the Government begin to think about how they will supercharge the Green Digital Economy, so when we start to emerge from the Coronavirus Crisis, the new normal that everyone is debating is firmly rooted in these two technological revolutionary facets of our economy.
We need to see a plan from the UK Government, which all the devolved administrations in the UK can get on board with and get behind. I am very confident we will go green. However, if we don’t put a plan in place that focuses on shifting the UK’s economy and jobs market to green digital, I believe we’ll end up seeing Chinese money, technology and contractors stepping in and fulfilling these sectors in the UK like never before, further setting back our international prospects, our asset values, real-term labour rates and comparative future living standards.