Every April 22, since 1970, we celebrate Earth Day
(Sustainabilityenvironment.com) – Invest in our planet, because when it comes to nature conservation “money talks”, money matters. It is the leitmotif of the 52nd World Earth Day 2022 , the appointment that, like every April 22, mobilizes environmental activists in the four corners of the planet. This year, the private sector and its indispensable role for fair and sustainable development are at the centre of the discussions.
“We need to act (boldly), innovate (broadly), and implement (equitably). It’s going to take all of us. All in. Businesses, governments, and citizens — everyone accounted for, and everyone accountable. A partnership for the planet”. Explains the international network Earthday.org. “As the recent IPCC 6 Assessment Report also pointed out, we must take action “while there is still time to solve the climate crisis, time to choose BOTH a prosperous and sustainable future, and time to restore nature and build a healthy planet for our children and their children, time is short“.
How was Earth Day born?
World Earth Day has been the event for more than 50 years involving more people around the planet. Its establishment is due to John McConnell, an ecology-conscious peace activist. In 1969, during the UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, McConnell proposed a day to celebrate the life and beauty of the Earth and to promote peace. A day for humanity to work to preserve the planet.
Thus a list of precise commitments and responsibilities was born, signed by more than 30 world leaders and the following year, on 22 April 1970, the first official World Earth Day took shape. It was only an American event, but soon the organization, under the leadership of Denis Hayes, expanded to more than 180 countries in no time.
Earth Day in the past has served to stir consciences and even politics. The 1990 edition, for example, prepared the ground and contributed to the success of the 1992 Rio Summit, the first world conference of heads of state on the environment. From here took shape the Kyoto Protocol and the process of climate diplomacy hinged on the COP (the first was held in 1995 in Berlin).
Global partnership at the heart of World Earth Day 2022
What is the role of companies in combating the current climate crisis? “If companies don’t act now, climate change will hurt economies even more deeply, increase scarcity, drain profits and job prospects, and impact us all,” the organizers of Earth Day 2022 recall.
“Unless businesses act now, climate change will ever more deeply damage economies, increase scarcity, drain profits and job prospects, and impact us all”, the organizers of Earth Day 2022 recall.
But part of the solution can come from the private sector. How? Thanks to the innovation potential of companies. As long as it’s on the right tracks, not on a trajectory that still doesn’t respect the planet’s boundaries.
“Studies show a direct correlation between sustainable business practices, share prices, and business performance. Companies who develop strong Environment Social Governance (ESG) standards have better profitability, stronger financials, happier employees, and more resilient stock performance“, say the organizers of Earth Day 2022.
It’s a win-win game, that of sustainable development. If you understand it in time. “Smart companies are finding that it is no longer a choice between being green and long-term profit growth – sustainability is the way to prosperity”. Hence the appeal that innervates all the hundreds of initiatives that will take place today: “Tell business leaders to board a sustainable future or get out of the way!”.
But it’s a change that also requires action from governments. “When it comes to climate change, money talks. Through regulations, incentives, and public/private partnerships, governments hold the keys to transform and build the green economy, the context in which successful responses to the climate crisis can proliferate.
The role of individuals is also extremely important. In the simplest way: making your voice heard through choices, civic actions and personal interactions. “What each of us does, and how we do it, has a huge ripple effect on our ecosystems, and on the pace of corporate and government action”.
In what way? Almost half of the young people born between 1995 and 2010, the Z generation, stopped buying certain brands because of ethical concerns or sustainability. “We have the power to lobby and support companies that take active steps to protect our environment through their climate-friendly practices and investments, and combat those that do not,” the organizers conclude.