With the pandemic still working its way through our healthcare, social, and economic systems, many have asked me whether business has come to a screeching halt. As the founder of a growing but still fairly small reforestation nonprofit, I can see why this is a sensible question. The economic pressure is real.
But the answer might be surprising: businesses are more dedicated than ever to addressing the climate crisis, and now is actually the perfect time for a company to start or develop a sustainability program.
Now is the Time.
Climate change isn’t taking a break, even if nature has had a reprieve in carbon emissions the past few months. The truth is that this issue is the most important thing our generation, and upcoming generations, need to address. It’s our air and water, food, climate, health, and just about everything else we need to survive on the planet.
And while understandably some businesses are struggling, others are weathering this storm and have more time on their hands to actually plan for the future, to reflect on what matters to the business and employees, and to implement a solid CSR program they can be proud of. Just starting with the simple act of planting trees is a great first step.
Think about the next 50 years.
As we come off of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day recently, it’s important to reflect on how the businesses of today can influence the next 50 years. Humans are responsible for the state of the earth, and businesses are equipped to make a big impact, quickly. Also, from our experience we know corporate sustainability programs help build team morale internally. They give employees a common and positive goal outside of their everyday workflow. Now, probably more than ever, your team is likely looking for something to rally behind – even if they rally remotely.
While committed, forward-thinking businesses continue to prioritize sustainability programs, we need everyone to participate. And you might just find that it’s even good for the bottom line. Most surveys show that upwards of 80% of consumers want sustainable products and packaging.
And while coronavirus is still in the headlines, consider this: restoring healthy environments can help prevent future disease outbreaks. Climate change, environmental destruction, and encroachment on wildlife habitats are all factors in the potential spread of zoonotic diseases. Trees are an important part of addressing this to not only reduce deforestation but to actively restore the millions of acres of forests that have already been damaged. Governments drag their feet when it comes to real change and nature-based solutions, but you know who’s quick and nimble and actually helps us get trees in the ground? Business partners who are committed to making a positive impact.