With World Environment Day on the horizon and the state in which we find the climate across the globe, it is certainly worth thinking about how our exports and international investments can help shape the future path of our environment and bring us closer to nature.
As an annual event that promotes the most positive environmental action worldwide, World Environment Day taking place on Tuesday 5th June 2018, brings nations together to celebrate and appreciate the wonders of nature and all its worth. This day also raises awareness about the impact we have on the environment around us, highlighting both positive and negative consequences. This year’s theme ‘BEAT PLASTIC POLLUTION’ is aimed at making the world realise the absolute seriousness of plastic pollution and how it is affecting our precious planet.
So how can we help raise awareness of our environment through the world of business and export and fall in line with this year’s theme of beating plastic pollution?
a) This year the World Environment organisation has introduced a global game of ‘tag’, known as ‘Beat Plastic Pollution Tag’ to demonstrate a shift in positive behaviour change and how as a planet, we consume plastic. This encourages not only individuals, but also businesses across the globe to nominate a single-use plastic item that they are willing to give up and take a selfie showing themselves embracing the reusable alternative e.g. reusable water bottles exchanged for plastic ones. People are then required to share these photos across social media at the same time as tagging three friends, businesses or high profile people, challenging them to do the same within 24 hours using the #BeatPlasticPollution hashtag and mentioning @UNEnvironment.
b) We’ve all heard about company team-building days out and networking. What about networking events that bring people together for a purpose? Why not connect people at the same time as connecting to nature by arranging business networking days or company team-building days out in our beautiful outdoors to clear the countryside and beaches of plastic. World Environment Day has already kicked off in India, whereby thousands of people took to the beach on 27th May, for the ‘World’s Largest Beach Cleanup’. Imagine getting out in the fresh air, hiking across rolling hills or strolling along beaches, where participants could enjoy their surroundings, whilst carrying out a worthwhile activity of picking up plastic. Whilst walking and talking, they get to expand their business network and ideas, as well as get to know potential clients in a more fun and interesting way, at the same time as saving the planet!
c) Another way of protecting the planet from plastic pollution is to look at other alternatives to plastic and how they can be created in a way that doesn’t cause havoc on our environment. Reusable coffee cups made from bamboo is one such example, but in order for the entrepreneurial companies making these sustainable substitutes to make the most of their investments, it is vital that their research and knowledge is passed onto other growing foreign markets to ensure long-term growth and success. The city of Freiberg in Germany have gone one step in another direction for those who forget their reusable coffee cup to be able to enjoy their takeaway coffee guilt-free, by creating the reusable ‘Freiburg Cup’. This cup is part of a deposit scheme whereby customers pay €1 for the cup, which they can return at various participating businesses across the city centre, which are then disinfected so the cups can be reused. The aim therefore is to export this deposit scheme idea across the globe, as well as spread the reusable cup love worldwide. So how can this journey be made smoother? Surely effective international communication through written and verbal means will spread the word that our planet needs to be protected from this plastic onslaught through more environmentally friendly methods. Crossing cultural borders is not without its challenges so embarking on such adventures might require the employment of an interpreter during a business proposal, as well as informing people through translating the marketing and advertising material of these new plastic alternative ideas for instance. Presenting one’s ideas and proposals would be better welcomed in the clients’ native language, so that everything is as clear as possible and nothing misunderstood.
d) Spreading the love of a plastic-free planet can also be done through unique new ventures such as using plastic to create products in a non-invasive way. For instance, the U.S. born engineering business ‘Bionic Yarn’ has developed a dynamic way of transforming plastic into fashion by creating yarns and fabrics for clothing from old plastic bottles. The company’s philosophy behind the business is encouragingly optimistic in protecting our treasured earth as their mission is “To make the world a better place with a better product “and know that “a company can successfully marry purpose with profit” without damaging the environment. So how can the world be educated to this dynamism, whilst creating a business opportunity at the same time? Like the creation of reusable items such as coffee cups, exporting globally with the help of effective international communication is a good start.
And what better way to round off this advocacy of beating plastic pollution combined with international communication and ventures, than with the compelling words, “From poisoning and injuring marine life to disrupting human hormones, from littering our beaches and landscapes to clogging our waste streams and landfills, the exponential growth of plastics is now threatening the survival of our planet… The world must perceive plastics not only as the environmental challenge of global proportions but a symbol of the values that need to change to build a more sustainable and just world”.
By Madeline Prusmann, Project Manager, June 2018
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