3 Sustainable Ways to Celebrate Earth Day, Every Day
For the past week, we’ve all been inundated with Earth Day memes, cute labels, shocking documentaries, environmental buzzwords, and snazzy products made with zero-waste. But as Earth Day 2022 comes to a close, now what? What can consumers and brands actually do today, and every day, to ensure they’re positively impacting our one good green earth?
3 Tips for the Eco-Conscious Consumer
The majority of eco-issues today arise from inherent large corporation supply chain snags. While a perfect zero-waste, individual life can seem unrealistic in changing the course of worldwide climate disruption, here are three principles to help you make eco-friendlier choices.
#1 Know how to spot greenwashing. In an attempt to keep up with skyrocketing conscious consumerism and international trade regulations, brands will often cut corners to appear more eco-conscious than they actually are. When companies attempt to seem “eco-friendly” without actually taking real measures to get there, this phenomenon is called greenwashing. Greenwashing can look like everything from performative, hyperbolic campaigns to leaning on third-party, aggregated, or exaggerated impact data.
Unless a brand has a strong sense of where its products originate, any campaign or stamp or product was – to some extent – greenwashed. Researching a brand’s sustainability claims can help you make more intentional spending decisions.
#2 Strive to shop sustainably — starting with second-hand and locally. Many areas have thrift stores with lightly used items. Oftentimes, these storefronts run for-profit, for-purpose initiatives as well (double win). Particularly for basics (t-shirts, a jacket, workout clothing) second-hand stores can be a true treasure trove. These spaces also tend to accept donations of any lovingly worn items you no longer want or need.
When looking for something special or new, purchasing from local sustainable brands has the twofold benefit of supporting your local economy and reducing your carbon footprint. Farmers and makers markets, local ma and pa storefronts, or even little food trucks and vendor booths are a fun way to fuel your local economy and shop sustainably.
#3 When buying from big brands, ideally shop with those that prove sustainability through traceability. Many brands are beginning to put a concerted effort into proving sustainability through supply chain traceability. Be on the lookout for companies who know where their products, ingredients, and materials originate. Examples include brands such as Coca-Cola’s worldwide recycling initiatives, AbInBev’s smart agriculture programs, and Solvay’s sustainable guar sourcing.
3 Tips for the Eco-Conscious Brand
Today’s global economy is shifting. Consumers are becoming increasingly eco-conscious, sustainability regulations are on the rise, and brands leaning on greenwashing as an eco-friendly shortcut are facing more and more scrutiny. As an org, you hold the power to make the earth a healthier, longer-lasting place. Below are a few principles to help you get started.
#1 Use the global shift to motivate you and your teams toward positive change. As the market evolves, so should every great brand. Messaging and positioning are never static, and remaining strategically ahead of the shifts is key in growing your company. Being aware of the rise of eco-conscious consumerism, and informing key stakeholders and teams at your company of the importance of these trends, should help inform strategy, messaging, and positioning, from product to supply chain to sustainability and marketing efforts.
#2 Map your supply chain, all the way down to your tier 1 waste collector, farmer, or laborer. Taking control of your own value chain is essential to any sustainability efforts or claims. This will take a bit of effort, but ensuring that your materials can be traced from tier 1 clearly through each tier pre-sale will be essential in mitigating risks, promoting equitability, and prepping your supply chain to be healthier and more auditable.
#3 End greenwashing. Relying on exaggerated data, unclear sources, suppliers, aggregated data, or third-party certifications only gets you so far. To avoid greenwashing, maintaining end-to-end transparency and promptly owning and fixing any inefficiencies or inequities will ensure that any campaigns, brand promises, and sustainability efforts are completely backed up by reliable, robust data.
Looking for a platform to help you map out your supply chain to ensure ROI and sustainability efforts?
BanQu is a for-good, for-profit platform that powers brands to map and trace their supply chains all the way down to tier one. This technology thus enables typically overlooked and underserved supply chain contributors — farmers, waste collectors, laborers — to have fair and equal digital proof and ownership over their transactions. In turn, these individuals can build credit, open bank accounts, increase their earnings, apply for lower interest loans, and secure better lives for themselves and their families.
“Waste reclaimers perform one of the toughest, yet most important jobs in the supply chain economy. Solutions like BanQu allow brands to financially empower these individuals across the world while improving supply chain inefficiencies and boosting their bottom line”.
—David Drew, Sustainability Director at Coca-Cola Africa