World Environment Day 2023
World environment day is celebrated annually on the 5th of June. Led by the United Nations Environment Program, World Environment Day is an occasion to promote awareness and action to protect and conserve the Earth’s environment. This year’s theme is Beat Plastic Pollution, with the sole focus on turning plastic pollution into solutions. In recent years the concern of plastic pollution has become more concerning. As it is a material that takes incredibly long to decompose, landfills are slowly filling up with plastic waste. Another alarming concern are micro-plastics, small bits of plastic which have begun to appear in even the waters of Antartica.
FROM PLASTIC POLLUTION TO PLASTIC SOLUTION
Plastic is one of the modern ages greatest inventions, however, as its use has become widely common we have yet to find a proper method of disposal. Whether it is on land or in the ocean and rivers, plastic can be found almost anywhere today. And that is only the plastic we can see, micro plastics (small fragments of plastic which are less than 5 mm in length), have already slowly crept into the food and water that we drink. The GREAT news is, with this being such a pressing issue, many initiatives to address it have already begun occurring around the globe. Even with this in mind it is still important to stress the importance and lobby for stricter policies. All stakeholders, including both businesses and governments, need to begin scaling their efforts and speeding up their actions in proportion to the problem. Across the globe many countries and businesses have played their part in reducing plastic pollution. For example in Thailand and Japan, many convenience stores either no longer offer plastic bags or charge customers extra to purchase one. These methods simultaneously deter customers from using plastic bags, while simultaneously promote the use of reusable ones.
BECOMING PART OF THE SOLUTION
This year’s host is a prime example as to how a country can take concrete action on a nationwide scale. Côte d’Ivoire is a West African country, with many beaches and rainforests. Since 2014, Côte d’Ivoire has banned the use of plastic bags and cultivated their largest city, Abidjan, to become a hub for environmentally minded start-ups. Since then they have introduced other projects, aimed to turn plastic waste into materials for building classrooms. Becoming part of the solution is something anyone and any company can do. While businesses are continuing their efforts, and consistently maintaining balance between self interest and larger goals, they will inevitably have a positive effect on SDGs. SDG 13 and 14 are two that are likely to be most directly affected, as they are related to Climate Action and Life Below Water. Both of which are largely affected by the prevalence of plastic in the environment, however, with persistent efforts other SDGs are likely to be achieved as well.
BRANDi, PART OF A GREAT SOLUTION
Through client projects and other collaborations, BRANDi has supported over 200 brands—ranging from SMEs to listed companies—in making changes for the GREATer by integrating the Triple Bottom Line; Profit, People, and Planet into their business models. Shifting the mindset, operation, and communication of organizations, will help show them that what they once saw as threats can be transformed into opportunities. All this while simultaneously balancing between the businesses interests and the world’s at the same time. In one notable project, BRANDi helped a leading oil and retail company in reducing 31.82 million tons of CO2 emissions per year. In another, 40+ tons of PET Plastic collected from the oceans have been recycled and upcycled, generating income for locals and reducing CO2 emissions by 115.27 tons. This represents only a few examples of the impact we have created on the economy, society, and environment throughout the years.
This is a GREAT opportunity to shine a spotlight on the ongoing environmental issues while highlighting the success cases, whether it be by individuals, countries, organizations or whomever. However, it should not only be during these special occasions that we realize the severity and importance of these issues and the effects, positive and negative, that they have on our world. Whether in the private or public sector, these are issues which not only effect all of us, but are ones that everyone should be aware of. The success of our actions is determined entirely on our effort, we have the power to determine the outcome. There is a GREAT future ahead, one where plastic pollution is a thing of the past, it is just up to us how soon that future is.
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