Earth Day 2022, Invest in our Planet

Each year on April 2022 we celebrate our Planet Earth, which as a living system, changes according not only to the intrinsic but also to the extrinsic factors. Many climate scientists have shown through their research that global warming during Anthropocene has been a consequence of Human activity, accelerated by the industrial revolutions.

As awareness raised so did the pressures to move away from exhausting the limited resources our Planet has been offering us so they can be used and consumed for longer allowing future generations to also use and consume them. To do so without reducing socio-economic welfare requires updates on processes, technologies and mindsets. Investment is thus needed. Investing in our Planet, if correctly done, implies an investment in society and consequently an increase in welfare. The latter stemming from for example reduced health problems due to cleaner air resulting from improved production technologies which pollute less too.

Increasingly more investors are aware of this need and opt for responsible alternatives allocating their money in sustainable investments, enlarging the sustainable investment pie. They also show the mindset change investors need to undergo. Yet risks of continuous greenwashing in investment still exists as the OECD recently pointed out, asking for standardisation to make sustainable investments easier to track and compare. The United Nations estimated in 2018 a range of 5 to 7 USD trillion annually needed to meet the agreed SDGs by 2030. Between 2018 and 2020 sustainable assets under management rose 15% according to the World Economic Forum to about USD 35.3 trillion. Yet, this level is behind UN’s expectations by 17% on average, as shown in the graphic below created by me with UN data. The lockdowns imposed as the Pandemic emerged resulted in a slowdown of investment projects as risks of unprecedented recession emerged, and the resulting drop on the global output might explain to a great extent this deviation.

Filipa Ferreira, UN Data

Also due to the Pandemic the issuance of sustainability bonds, green bonds and social bonds, financing instruments for socio-economic and environmental purposes, accelerated to unprecedented levels too. By the end of this year, sustainability bonds issuance is expected to exceed USD 1.5 trillion. Will the pace be maintained and the sun rise through forests expanding our life and our planet’s?

Filipa Ferreira, a forest in Europe

Two plants, two approaches to Corporate Sustainability

Fireside chat with Dr Ioannis Ioannou on Corporate Sustainability Reporting and Innovation

“We need to understand that we are all in this planet together.” as professor Dr Ioannis Ioannou remind us. Transforming organisations into Sustainable ones is a need as We’re All in this together. Companies, as he mentions, need to choose their approach to sustainability by either taking common or unique actions. “The common actions, are actions companies absolutely need to do to be in middle…if you don’t follow the best-practices, chances are you’re gone be in a competitive disadvantage… If you want to be a leader you also need to think what you’re doing uniquely well, what is differentiating you well”. As we celebrate Earth’s Day today, and with Biden’s Climate Summit starting, Dr Ioannis Ioannou also leaves a message for the World Politicians and Business Leaders meeting these 2 days. To have an overview on his innovative approach, listen to this podcast.

Earth Day – #RestoreOurEarth

Both Cambridge and Oxford dictionaries define restore as a way to return something to a previous good condition or position; or “to bring back into use something that has been absent for a period of time”.

But we can only restore something if we acknowledge it has been deteriorated. As mentioned in my first post, Beginning, recent global warming has been caused by Anthropocene’s activity. Although these past 14 months economic activity has dropped deeply, emissions have only dropped slightly as a large amount of activity became digital, accelerating the digital transformation that many organisations were reluctant to join more significantly. As brick-and-mortar shops closed to contain contagium, the transport induced emissions increased due to a higher adoption of Covid-19 safer home deliveries. In some places electric delivery vehicles surged. A good time to show remote workers some of their products were sustainably delivered, but it hasn’t been enough.

EarthDay.org

As the Earth day approaches and lockdowns started to ease, which action are you taking from Earth’s day onwards to also contribute to #RestoreourEarth? Well, in case you haven’t thought of one, and haven’t become aware of your carbon footprint, I recommend you to use the carbon FOOTPRINT CALCULATOR (henkel.com) from Henkel, analyse your results. At the end you’ll find your footprint in comparison to the European Average, the Global average and the target carbon footprint, giving you an opportunity to think how much you need to change the unsustainable actions by sustainable ones and influence the people around you. This carbon footprint calculator contributes to a research #Henkel is doing with the aim of providing more sustainable goods in the near future. According to Henkel, the collected information remains anonymous.

Once your awareness has increased, you should consider some new sustainable habits to improve your Carbon footprint. (You may want to watch this 2015’s Nasa video showing a year of Carbon dioxide and monoxide emissions across the globe: NASA | A Year in the Life of Earth’s CO2 – YouTube).

Remember that to be sustainable means that resources are used efficiently, with reduced extraction and longer usage, allowing future generations to also access and use it. You can do so by:

  • Reusing – stop the single use of all items which don’t convey a health risk.
  • Repairing so it can be used for longer (a good example can be an electric equipment that only needs its engine to be repaired, allowing a longer usage and less plastic or steel to be produced and consequently less GHG emissions released);
  • enable its Reincorporation in other manufacturing processes;
  • Recycling and contributing to a longer lifecycle.

Reduce the resources to be consumed and contribute to restore our planet! Remember that not all food locally produced suggests an adoption of a sustainable production method. Also, bear in mind, that less usage means less extraction, which consequently means less disturbance to ecosystems and higher biodiversity. The latter is at risk of huge loss with subsequent great impact in our wellbeing, if we don’t limit global warming to 1.5º C.

Earthday.org