Earth Day comes this year at a turning point, as we move out of lockdown and preparations for COP26 intensify. We expressed hope last year for a continuation of emission reductions following the pandemic, however it’s now expected a fossil-fuelled recovery will take us back to above pre-pandemic levels.
All too often our agency as citizens is reduced to conscious consumerism, especially around Earth Day. Although consumer habits will need to change, focusing on this alone can be harmful. As we obsessively minimise our waste, images of whales full of plastic continue to flood in. The lack of visibility of impacts from action, breeds feelings of frustration and judgement of others who could be our allies. We miss the opportunity to amplify our voices, and the joy of enacting tangible change alongside others.
So how can you boost your climate action?
Does your organisation have a strong sustainability strategy? If not, become a positive influence. Work with others to bring forward bold, constructive ideas as a collective. If you hold a position of power, set aside time for colleagues to think structurally about sustainability. Perhaps there are opportunities for making change clearer? There may be many ways you can support and inspire your organisation to be more sustainable. Check out this Sustainability Strategy video.
Social value means that your business has long-term positive impacts for local communities and the environment. This could look like prioritising small local organisations in procurement or funding decisions.
Half of global emissions result from extraction, so minimising resource consumption is vital to decarbonisation as well as reducing waste. Could you do more to maximise resource efficiency? Try the Supply Chain Sustainability School’s Introduction to Waste and Circular Economy e-learning modules for inspiration.
Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company’s products are more environmentally sound. If you see that claims are being made that are not supported by action, call it out! Greenwashing brings reputational risk and is a sponge for morale. If your industry is heavily polluting, organise with others to create transition plans and lobby for government support.
Once you’ve implemented new sustainability strategies, monitoring and communicating successes and failures is key to reaching your business goals and inspiring others. The Sustainability Tool is a great way to measure and report on your targets.
Collective action is powerful, both within and between organisations. With more voices, you have more leverage to influence supply chains to decarbonise, learn from one another and spark innovation.
Without strong legislative drivers, business-led climate action will always be limited. The government has announced a new carbon budget for 2035 of a 78% reduction in carbon emissions, but existing policies are not enough to reach this objective. Push your representatives to support local campaigns and green transition policies nationally!
The theme for Earth Day 2021 is ‘Restore our Earth’. This links most obviously to biodiversity, but we also need to restore our communities. Post-lockdown and pre-COP26, is the perfect time to be bold and level up your climate action at work and at home!
Action Sustainability can provide strategic advice and tactical support on your carbon and energy needs. For more information on how we can support you, please contact Naomi.
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