Earth Day is a global celebration every year on 22nd April. It provides an opportunity to remind the world about the importance of sustainability and invites communities to take part in planet preservation.
Each year, Earth Day has a central theme aimed at a specific environmental concern. The Earth Day 2023 theme is ‘Invest in Our Planet’, which places focus on how businesses can work collectively to push for environmental improvement.
With particular relevance to business owners, this blog looks at the global significance of Earth Day, and why you should support it within your corporate strategy.
What is Earth Day and why is it important?
Earth Day is both an annual global celebration and a not-for-profit organisation, which raises awareness of environmental preservation and celebrates the achievements of the environmental movement. Earth Day was first celebrated in the U.S. in 1970, and in 1990 it expanded into a global celebration.
Earth Day continues to grow in popularity and is celebrated by more than a billion people globally. It is now the largest globally celebrated secular holiday.
Earth Day has been credited for mobilising society and generating increased awareness of core environmental issues, such as climate change and land pollution. Since it was first celebrated, there has been significant progress in sustainability, in areas such as renewable energy, carbon capture technologies, and agricultural practices to name a few.
Why is Earth Day important to business owners?
For businesses, adopting sustainable practices not only helps mitigate the climate crisis, but also provides commercial benefits.
The theme of Invest in Our Planet places emphasis on the need to contribute towards building a healthy economy, and recognising the relationship between sustainability and profitability.
As noted by Earth Day, changing global perspectives mean it is no longer a choice between going green and long-term profitability – businesses of all sizes must act now.
It is well acknowledged that companies with strong Environmental Social Governance (ESG) agendas are showing enhanced profitability and financial performance, as well as improved staff retention and happier employees. This is due to their ability to meet consumer demands, increase efficiency and attract talent.
Meeting Consumer Demands
Sustainability improves a brand’s reputation and can add significant value to a company’s product or service.
A study by Nielsen showed that 66% of consumers would spend more on a product that came from a sustainable brand, and a further 80% care strongly about sustainability.
More and more consumers are now prioritising sustainability where they shop. This trend will only increase as the consumer power of millennials and Generation Z increases.
Sustainability reduces the waste generated by your business, which ultimately cuts costs and saves money. For example, FedEx aims to convert its entire 87,000-vehicle fleet to electric engines by 2040.
So far they have converted 20%, which has already reduced their fuel consumption by more than 50 million gallons.
Sustainable companies can have a competitive edge when attracting talent.
Millennials currently make up the largest part of the global workforce, and 40% said they have taken a role because of a company’s sustainability strategy.
Some have even taken a pay cut to work for a company that is environmentally conscious.
How your business can celebrate Earth Day
Earth Day has numerous ways for you and your business to get involved with. However, the most important part is bringing knowledge and advocacy to your everyday practices.
Developing and implementing a sustainability strategy for your business will help create long-lasting change and environmental improvement. Below are three ways to make your business more sustainable:
Utilise energy-saving technologies
Technologies such as smart lights, thermostats, and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) can all provide substantial savings, with an average payback of 1.5 years. Gov.uk estimates the average start-up could cut their energy bill by up to 25%, with 40% of these savings requiring zero capital.
Researching these technologies and what is right for your business can provide excellent financial and environmental benefits.
Work towards zero waste
Efficiently managing your waste can significantly improve the environmental impact of your organisation, and demonstrate your commitment to operating sustainably.
The most effective way to do this is by reducing the waste your business generates. Research the viability of offering plastic-free delivery or refill services.
If you sell on Amazon, there are now two new options available that can assist with improving the circularity of the items you sell.
Their Grade and Resell, and Amazon Liquidations options have been introduced to help customers recover value from excess inventory, whilst reducing the waste generated by sellers. Amazon has estimated this will help keep 300 million products in use every year.
Work towards environmental accreditations
Environmental accreditations can show the world that you are working to recognised standards, and that you take sustainability seriously. They are also an excellent starting point for businesses at the start of their sustainability journey.
The B Impact Assessment (BIA) is a free online tool used by over 150,000 businesses to help them measure, monitor, and improve their environmental impact.
Additionally, Green Mark provides a step-by-step approach to businesses looking to develop a fully documented Environmental Management System (EMS).
How 1st Formations is celebrating Earth Day
For 1st Formations, Earth Day provides an important opportunity to reflect on our sustainability journey, and look forward to developing our strategy further. Whilst advocacy for environmental improvement is integral to our sustainability agenda, we are also committed to implementation.
We are aligned with global efforts to reduce the impacts of global warming, and we are certified as a carbon neutral business.
This month we will be calculating our emissions so we can retain our carbon neutral status. We will be incorporating a Carbon Reduction Plan (CRP) into our emission calculations to ensure we are working as efficiently as possible.
Thank you for reading
The relationship between economic growth and sustainability is becoming increasingly important. Earth Day provides the opportunity for business owners to reflect on the development of their sustainability strategy, and understand the benefits this will bring.