Earth Day 2022: Invest in Our Planet
EARTHDAY.ORG, the global Earth Day organizer, announced the 2022 theme - “Invest In Our Planet”
Kathleen Rogers, President of EARTHDAY.ORG, said this to help establish the foundation of the theme. “In 2022, we all must enter into one partnership for the planet. People, governments, and even most businesses fear change, but the status quo – the way we live today – is changing before our eyes. In building our future, individuals, businesses, governments each have a unique role – we need to act individually and together. Unlike other historic economic revolutions, this time there are two additional imperatives: the first is to save ourselves from the climate crisis, and the second is to build new green economies in every country so that everyone can share in the benefits from this green revolution. This will only be done if we invest in our planet’s future together.”
I think almost all readers can agree that while governments worldwide are making some progress, the commitments they were willing and able to make in Glasgow last year suggest that public policy will not solve this crisis alone. That’s where individuals, consumers, businesses, nonprofits, inventors, and scientists can and must come in if a change is going to happen as quickly as the world needs it to. These entities can be far more nimble, aggressive, and committed to driving environmental change, without the burdens that policymakers bear of balancing the many competing interests of their citizens.
What does this all mean for you, as an eco-minded business? How can you embrace Earth Day 2022? What initiatives might you take on in April (and perhaps may consider extending throughout the entire year)?
Here are six ideas to help businesses think through how to “Invest In Our Planet” in 2022.
Commit to buying recycled products and materials.
We believe that buying recycled, especially domestically produced recycled goods made with post-consumer waste, is one of the easiest and most impactful ways you can positively impact the planet and build towards a more circular economy. By buying recycled, you are signaling to the supply chains across the country that there is a strong market for this material. This becomes a pull that incentivizes remanufacturers, reclaimers, and MRFs to invest in the infrastructure and capacity to accept and sort this waste material.
The result? Fewer greenhouse gas emissions (because recycled goods have a 30-80% lower carbon footprint), reduced methane (because landfills are a leading contributor of climate change through their methane emissions), and improved materials circularity.
We know, buying recycled can sometimes (but not always!) be a little bit harder and more expensive at first. The theme of “Invest In Our Planet” is a good reminder to all of us businesses that it is critical to prioritize the planet and our impact over convenience and bottom-level pricing.
Not sure where to start? Packaging is a great step! Check out our 100% Recycled Poly Mailers or Paper Mailers, or Shipping Boxes. Printing paper is also another easy and impactful starting place.
Identify one major area of your business where you can invest in a truly beneficial and superior change for the planet.
Make this your project for the month or even for the year. If you sell apparel, maybe this is a good time to reconsider any non-sustainable fabrics you use or start printing with Algae Ink for the first time. If you sell jewelry, this may be a time to research and explore alternatives for any non-sustainable or ethical materials you include in your goods. If you sell essential oils, are your glass bottles 100% recycled? If not, can they be?
Auditing your business and finding one meaningful investment you can make to “do business better” can have a great environmental impact and inspire even more improvement across other aspects of your business.
As a bonus, it’s a great way to refresh your product line and marketing!
Eliminate as many cheap, virgin, disposable, single-use, non-sustainable goods from your business operations.
Do you use disposal supplies in your kitchen? A Keurig or plastic utensils. Do you go through disposable pens constantly? Take stock in the supplies you use across your business.
Who makes these nondurable goods? How are they made and how much recycled content or sustainable sourced inputs do they use? Who profits from you purchasing these items (and are these entities working towards the end vision you also have for the planet and its people)?
Consider replacing your Keurig with a standard coffee maker and sourcing Fair Trade coffee with a known supply chain. Skip the disposal utensils. Invest in US-made, reusable alternatives. Do you go through a lot of pallet wrap? Invest in either a reusable alternative or a recycled option.
Make ecologically beneficial investments in carbon sequestration or clean-up projects (but skip the questionable investments!)
This can be done in a few ways.
One is to “offset” a portion or all of your carbon footprint by investing in a vetted and viable carbon sequestration project. EcoEnclose has partnered with a livestock farming operation committed to preserving and improving their prairie land, investing in this operation as part of our carbon neutral shipping program. Carbon projects range from retrofitting landfills to capture their methane emissions to installing wind power to revitalize native prairie land, forestland, or soil.
Another might be to create your project. United By Blue has set a great example here. For every order they receive, their team removes one pound of litter from waterways. They organize, manage and track these efforts on their own - to great success.
A final approach might be to find an organization making exceptional investments in carbon capture and sequestration and simply donate an appropriate amount to this entity.
It is important to be thoughtful and well-researched with any investment efforts! And to remember that they are not marketing ploys! Today’s New York Times article, Tree Planting Is Booming. Here’s How That Could Help, or Harm, the Planet, was a beautifully written reminder that flashy “Buy X and We Will Plant One Tree Campaigns” can be executed poorly or effectively. When executed poorly, with a focus on flashy marketing rather than true impact, they can devastate biodiversity and simply be a cog in the wheels of major logging corporations.
Rethink your energy sources and invest in electric.
Saul Griffith’s book, Electrify Everything, is a surprisingly optimistic proposal, suggesting that the number one activity that people, companies, and countries can take to reverse climate change is to “electrify everything” setting the foundation for the world to be able to then transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy and electricity.
Can any of this become an effort you or your business invests in?
For example, EcoEnclose recently revamped our HVAC system, transitioning to electric heat (rather than natural gas heat). This is our first step in a broader vision of then sourcing as much of our electricity from renewable sources as possible.
Other companies may be considering investing in rooftop solar panels, to help fuel some of their energy needs.
Others may simply be working with their energy companies to secure a higher percentage of their energy from renewable sources.
Donate to a worthwhile, environmental effort or non-profit. Or donate to a candidate who is pushing hard for your climate agenda.
Donating to global, national, or local organizations that are fighting climate change, building climate equity, and supporting carbon sequestration is a wonderful way to convert your business’s profits into immediate impact.
You can make a one-off donation, set up ongoing, long-term donations, or create a community campaign - donating a specific amount for every order you sell.