The first Earth Day was observed on April 22, 1970, catapulting environmental concerns onto the front page and launching a worldwide movement. Nearly 50 years later, the fight for a clean environment has never been more important, as the consequences of climate change become more evident every day. Consumers are aware of this urgency: 62 percent of Americans believe climate change is a problem, according to the 2018 Cone/Porter Novelli Climate Change Snapshot. Additionally, 58 percent say that in the absence of government progress, companies must take the lead on creating climate change solutions and commitments. Here’s how organizations are heeding the call:
Advocating to Make Earth Day a National Holiday: Outdoor clothing brand The North Face is partnering with 15 organizations around the world to launch a global Change.org petition to make Earth Day an officially recognized holiday. The company will shut down 113 stores in the U.S. and Canada, as well as its global headquarters, on April 22 to provide opportunity for employees to disconnect and explore. This week, The North Face also partnered with musicians, artists and culinary influencers to host a series of #ExploreMode events that encouraged consumers to disconnect digitally and engage with their surroundings.
Rethinking Packaging: The beauty industry is a major contributor to plastic packaging and waste, producing 120 billion units of packaging every year. Many companies are looking for more environmentally-friendly packaging options: Kiehl’s Made Better, a brand platform which connects the company’s efforts in sustainability to the aspirations of Kiehl’s customers, is re-introducing its best-selling mask Rare Earth – made better. The mask comes in a re-designed jar that features a top label made from repurposed coffee bean bag fiber and post-consumer waste, and a jar made of 30 percent post-consumer recycled plastic. 100 percent of net profits, up to $25,000, will support the Earth Day Network’s Earth Day 2019 Clean Up, taking place in cities across the United States.
Encouraging Consumers to Do Good (While Reducing Their Carbon Footprint): JetBlue re-upped its annual “GreenUp” campaign to celebrate Earth Month: From April 1-15, the airline encouraged customers to nominate their favorite environmental nonprofits to a receive a grant. One nonprofit will be rewarded with a grant of $20,000 and three runners up will each receive $5,000. Additionally, when customers nominate their favorite charities to receive a grant, they will automatically be entered to have offsets totaling 3.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions retired in their name. This represents the average American’s lifetime carbon footprint, according to Carbonfund.org Foundation. Since 2008, JetBlue has offset more than 2 billion pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions in partnership with Carbonfund.org.
Seeking Sustainable Solutions in the Fashion Industry: The world is in desperate need of sustainable fashion solutions, with the fashion industry contributing 6.7 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Athleisure brand BOY MEETS GIRL® (BMG) is partnering with nonprofit Cool Effect to create a limited-edition t-shirt design inspired by Cool Effect’s mission to fight climate change and cut carbon emissions. With the phrase “THOU SHALT STAY COOL,” the shirts are made using low-impact dying techniques to reduce environmental impact. BMG will donate 15 percent of proceeds from the design to Cool Effect.
As the ravages of climate change become harder to ignore, it’s become increasingly important for all of us (including companies) to play a part in creating climate change solutions. Whether those solutions involve rethinking packaging or helping consumers reduce their carbon footprint, they are all necessary steps toward preserving our planet for generations to come.