Since 1970 Earth Day has been about giving ordinary people an opportunity to voice their concerns about the state of the environment through grassroots participation and legislation. A US Senator, Gaylord Nelson had been horrified by the effects that humans were having on the natural environment in the US during the 1960’s. The massive oil spill in Santa Barbara in 1969 ravaged the coastal environment and compelled him to act. He was inspired by the antiwar protesters at the time and wanted to bring the same level of urgency and energy to environmental awareness. Earth Day is now more relevant than ever. Earth day was a uniquely American affair for many years however it has become an event that is now observed globally. The effects of Earth Day include the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in countries around the world and has been key in creating legislation for clean water and air, endangered species, and regulation around the use of chemicals. Since its inception, Earth Day has helped raise awareness of important environmental issues and continues to be influential in creating legislation to address ongoing issues. Investing in Our Planet is the theme for Earth Day 2022.
Investing In Our Planet
Being sustainable has rapidly become a core part of business. Caring for the environment is one of the core pillars of the Acacia Evergreen sustainability initiative [link here to responsible business page] which is ongoing. We realise that acting on the climate crisis won’t be accomplished by scaring people but by harnessing the substantial interest and good will towards sustainable living that already exists. Consumers want to buy from sustainable businesses and employees expect their employers to have robust sustainability policies in place. Consequently, facilities management will play a role in helping businesses achieve their sustainability goals through energy management, space optimisation and strategically planning the use of your premises for the future of your business. The Acacia Evergreen initiative tries to take a holistic view of sustainability and uses the UN sustainable development goals as a guide for investing in our planet.
Actions speak louder than words and so, our approach of investing in the planet in 2022 includes creating a sustainability strategy, committing to replacing 20% of our vehicles with electric vehicles and accounting and measuring all our sustainability efforts by publishing a sustainability report at the beginning of next year. As a result, we have assessed our carbon footprint with the assistance of external experts, and we have now created a decarbonisation strategy. The result of the analysis is a strategy that has identified measurable ways that we can start reducing our carbon output. This is a work in progress however we have committed to replacing 20% of all our vehicles with electrical vehicles by the end of 2022. Already we have hit one quarter of our target for this year for replacing regular vehicles with EVs. Additionally, mobilizing the positive attitudes and willingness of employees to become more involved has meant that our sustainability champions in Acacia will assist in our efforts to invest in our planet. It is an ongoing effort.
What can your business do this Earth Day 2022?
The pandemic has had a detrimental effect on our ability to be sustainable. Although there was a decrease in carbon emissions in 2020 this was due to a decrease in economic activity. Consequently, the focus on reducing emissions and carbon will remain. Investing in the planet by making better choices for your office or workplace takes time and planning. A building is the largest asset an organisation possesses, it is also the biggest producer of carbon emissions. Some considerations for reducing your business’ emissions include changing your electricity provide to a green electricity provider. Additionally taking the time to work towards LEED or WELL certifications can assist in a business’ efforts to invest in the planet. Facilities management can make a difference to your business’ sustainability efforts by ensuring the supply chain and procurement processes consider the effect on the economic, social, and environmental wellbeing of those involved. The long-term benefits of having a sustainably focused facilities management service provider include reputation protection, risk management and future proofing a company.
Smaller ways for businesses to invest in the planet include encouraging awareness or learning about how you can make sustainable choices https://www.earthday.org/actions/try-a-simple-act-of-green/ . If you want to find out how climate literate you are, go to www.earthday.org to take the quiz or learn the fast facts about sustainable fashion.
Investing in our planet needs to become a consistent action where businesses and individuals feel supported to make decisions that positively affect the planet. The complexity and all-encompassing nature of sustainability can make the task of starting your sustainability journey a bit daunting. Investing in your business’ ability to be sustainable means that you are investing in the future of your business. There are many ways that facilities management can support this aspect including areas such as supply chain and procurement. To have a conversation with us about where to begin or how we can support your business’ sustainability efforts, contact us here.