April 22nd 2021 marks International Earth Day, this year with the poignant strapline “As the world returns to normal, we can’t go back to business as usual”.
Indeed, this time last year, we were starting to reflect not just on our own health, but that of the planet too. The doom and gloom of lockdown was punctuated by tales of greatly improved air pollution levels, cleaner rivers, and nature exploiting the quieter and more tranquil environ as we all stayed at home.
We can’t be complacent however. Reports such as one published by the European Environmental Agency (EEA) highlight that these so called benefits of lockdown are unlikely to sustain themselves. Even if they did, there’s arguably a long way to go to significantly impact climate change. So, what more can we do?
An increased number of people have been re-evaluating their impact on the environment, and as a brand which holds sustainability close to our heart, we’ve been looking at some of the things we’ll take away from the last year in terms of our own influence on mother nature.
According to a recent YouGov survey, bottled water consumption reduced by a whopping 45% in the UK during lockdown. It’s reported that 7.7 billion plastic water bottles are used each year in the UK. If so, our rudimentary maths skills suggest that’s a reduction of around 3.5 billion! The impact of single use plastic waste on wildlife and the environment is well documented, so this is a win. Nonetheless, it has been reported that reliance on other types of single use plastics has increased, for example we’re increasing our use of disposable face masks and takeaway coffee cups. By simply making use of our La Pochette water bottles and reusable face masks, we’re already helping eliminate this detritus. In addition, we’ve been trying to remember our shopping and ‘veg bags’, and ordering fruit and veg from local producers in an effort to help eliminate plastics, waste, and reduce our carbon footprint. This is something we can easily continue.
Talking of sustainability, the above YouGov survey also posited the question, “would you be willing to change your behaviour as much as you have because of Covid-19, to help manage environmental threat”? Over two thirds of respondents stated that they would. One of those behaviours was thinking more not just about environmentally friendly packaging, but also environmentally friendly products, and making better choices as consumers. It’s reported consumers would be willing to spend up to 12% more on brands and products that talk to sustainability. In addition, consumers have also stated they’d put more support behind smaller businesses. Great news for us as a company working hard to promote sustainability, and send out a positive environmental message. Certainly, at La Pochette we’ve bought less ‘stuff’ this past year, have been repurposing and recycling, and reflecting more on where we’re spending our hard earned cash.
Moreover, we’ve also been embracing the opportunity to re-examine our lifestyle. Like many people, travelling and commuting has been curtailed which has reduced air pollution. We’ve all been walking, running and even cycling more. In having more time, and spending more of this outside, we’ve been encouraging wildlife into our gardens, litter picking, and even taken up gardening. We’re not alone. Many A-listers have reported taking an interest in gardening and growing their own food during lockdown. There was even an entire article in the NME a few months ago centred around ‘rock hellraiser’ Keith Richard’s growing his own vegetables. Gucci has chosen Gerald Stratford, the internet's “veg king”, as their newest influencer and campaign star.
Who’d have predicted that at the start of 2020?
We’re hoping we can continue to be engaged and active in the months ahead, particularly given these activities all come with a positive environmental impact. Personally, I know I need to improve my food cultivating skills, eating more of my own fruit and veg, and aiming for a more plant based diet. I wonder if Keith’s available for advice?
For more information on Earth Day and how you can help, go to https://www.earthday.org/