April 21, 2021
On 22 April we celebrate Earth Day. Beginning as an activist event amongst US students in 1970, it is now widely recognized as the largest secular observance in the world, with more than a billion people marking the event.
Last year Earth Day celebrated its 50th birthday, which, in light of the first global wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, had to be held as a digital event.
Another year on, and with the impact of the pandemic still being felt globally, Earth Day will be digital once more.
As a global community, opinions on the environment have been impacted by the pandemic. One survey from last summer found that 70% of participants said that, compared with how they felt before the spread of COVID-19, they were much more aware now of the effect of human activity threatening the climate and our environment – which in turn is detrimental to human life.
This year’s Earth Day theme of ‘Restore our Earth’ is particularly meaningful with everyone feeling the impact of the pandemic and looking forward to brighter times ahead.
Why is Earth Day important?
The Earth Day mission remains ‘to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide.” The organization works with more than 75,000 partners in over 190 countries to increase understanding and drive action. Events such as Earth Day bring people together around a globally recognised day – a chance to stop and consider how our actions impact the world around us – and make changes to lessen that impact.
This year the event is spread across three days – beginning with a global youth climate summit and culminating in a day of digital activity on Earth Day itself. A virtual summit on the climate crisis will take place on that very same day, organised by US President Joe Biden, with 40 world leaders having been invited to join. President Biden is expected to announce bold action to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions and encourage other major world economies to do the same. After four years of absence from global climate talks, the US is signalling with this summit that it is back in the driving seat in this crisis and at the forefront of all international efforts.
Why does it matter to my business?
Awareness and discussions around climate change, sustainability and ESG have increased enormously over the last 12 months. The topic is moving further up the agenda fast, both politically and in society in general. The same survey mentioned above revealed that 87% of respondents felt that companies should integrate environmental concerns into their products, services and operations to a greater extent than in the past. There is a lot of talk around ‘building back better’ – taking the opportunity provided by the current pandemic to come back in a stronger and greener way.
Equally there is an emphasis on being clear and transparent. A UK survey published just last week has indicated that two-thirds of Brits are wary of claims made in sustainability-related business communications, finding many claims very similar, and using too much jargon.
We would encourage you to join President Biden and be bold! But also to be open and realistic about how you communicate your goals and your progress. If you haven’t yet begun to consider the environmental impact of your business, or made a clear statement about your contributions to improvements, then Earth Day could offer an opportunity to take stock.
For us at Considerate Group, it is Earth Day every day of the year as we dedicate ourselves to driving sustainability progress with hospitality businesses. This may range from measuring their impacts to setting ambitious targets and actions for improvement, from actively engaging all their teams to reporting on their ESG topics. No matter what stage of the journey companies are at, our team can help, not just on Earth Day but any day – so do please get in touch!