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The metaverse is primed to transform the way we interact and conduct business, with the potential to impact every facet of the enterprise and the consumer experience.
But this will not come without implications for our physical environment. There is no question that the commerce models currently being established around the metaverse are problematic for our planet.
Today a single Ethereum transaction consumes an average of 60% more energy than 100,000 credit card transactions, while an average Bitcoin transaction consumes 14 times more energy. The average NFT transaction produces 48 kilograms (105 pounds) of CO2, which is equivalent to burning 18 liters (4.75 gallons) of diesel. Despite this, the answers to the climate crisis in the real world might be found in a virtual one.
The metaverse holds the promise of substantial reductions in carbon emissions, whether through the substitution of physical goods with digital ones, replacing real-world presence with virtual interactions, or digital twins that will help us optimize the physical world — from the planet to individual humans. The immersive nature of metaverse experiences could also help overcome our behavioral barriers to climate action.
Moreover, we can’t lose sight of the need for social sustainability, making the metaverse accessible, inclusive and equitable.
As business leaders invest, develop new customer strategies, and transform to pursue the potential of the metaverse, better climate and social outcomes must be front and center during planning efforts. We must take a wider view to ensure that we bridge the gap between the costs and benefits of utilizing the metaverse.
As adoption increases, it will become increasingly difficult to implement changes to make commerce in the metaverse sustainable. Whether this requires intervention by regulators, investors, consumers, stakeholders or other business leaders, time is of the essence before exponential gr …