The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22nd, 1970, with more than 20 million people around the U.S. gathered holding rallies, demonstrations and participating in activities to promote a clean and safe living environment. The first Earth Day events saw unprecedented unity among persons of varying socio-economic backgrounds and political affiliations and resulted in the enactment of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and the founding of the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Through the next few decades, activities related to Earth Day spread globally and continues to grow as a worldwide phenomenon focused on promoting clean living and a healthy, sustainable habitat for people and wildlife alike. Celebrating Earth Day serves as a conscious reminder of how fragile our planet is and how important it is to protect it through promoting environmental awareness in our everyday lives.
Though hindered by social distancing efforts amid COVID-19, activities to celebrate the 50th annual Earth Day featured 24 hours of digital conversations, calls to action, performances, online presentations and lessons, and more digital activities with the goal of mobilising the world to take meaningful action to make a difference.
Here are some ways companies are making environmental protection a part of their organisational DNA through solving environmental issues and taking on additional social responsibility and sustainability initiatives outside of their business objectives:
Facilitate Use of Solar Power
Solar energy benefits the environment as a source of clean, renewable power. Alternatives to fossil fuels reduce carbon footprint at home and abroad, reducing greenhouse gases around the globe. The use of solar is known to have a favourable impact on the environment. Facilitating solar energy for commercial and household use can have an effective positive impact on the environment. Facilitating the use of solar power through education is a simple step that can be significant in driving behaviour change toward sustainable environmental practices. Providing products, expertise, innovative solutions and addressing common concerns, for instance, on how solar panels work, the reliability of solar as an energy source and understanding net metering can position your organisation as a leader in solar energy solutions.
Reduce Environmental Footprint
Implement numerous efforts to reduce your environmental footprint as a company, from lowering emissions by consolidating office space and optimising the use of energy-efficient equipment and systems to finding creative ways to minimise waste. Initiatives can range from as simple as aiming to go paperless or launching enterprise-wide filling stations to reduce the use of disposable water bottles among employees; to compelling changes, like partnering with third-party vendors to recycle paper, small electronics, and turn food waste into compost.
Support Local Communities
Dedicate to strengthening your communities. Encourage employees to support local community organisations through volunteering. Make it a company-wide challenge to meet a set number of volunteer hours, contributing and impacting the lives of persons in your wider community.
Impact Consumption Habits
In conversations around sustainable consumption, the emphasis is often on businesses: how can they produce and promote greener products? However, the transition to a more responsible future must also involve both consumers and the government. At the root, green consumption has been related to the need to lower the use of energy and material in our everyday consumption as well as foster more sustainable use of resources. Taking on that mandate as a company is the first step but encouraging discourse among the wider public and government agencies is equally important to create systemic habit change for a more sustainable planet.