Happy 50th Earth Day to us all!

Earth Day 2020 is certainly a very peculiar one, with a global pandemic going on and our lives changing so radically from one day to the other. However, I think that today more than ever it’s important to take a step back and think about what this day really means.

Sometimes we forget that people and the planet are not mutually exclusive, and that their wellbeing depends on one another. Today more than in 1970 (when Earth Day was first celebrated), new generations are saying NO to settle for dullness and clichés about our Mother Earth. Luckily, Millennials and Gen Z are our present and future leaders. And their freshness and dissatisfaction are acting as catalysts for those who feel the need to make an impact and drive change.

Therefore, I’d like to explore with both businesses and charities what Earth Day can (and should) mean and how we can celebrate it through a new wave of the Triple Bottom Line that praises the potential of partnerships.

Let’s work the steps together!

Earth Day in a nutshell

For some the date 22nd of April 1970 might already ring a bell; but since history helps us better understand our present, let’s just refresh our memory for a moment.

On this exact day, 20 million people in the US decided it was time to get out there and speak up against the environmental crisis and in favour of a sustainable way of moving forward. At the time, the political agenda did not consider the wellbeing of our planet as being related to people’s prosperity and wellbeing. And people wanted to make sure this became a priority!

Anyway, this outcry generated lots of changes in policy and practice since then. To name just few examples:
The Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts,
Agenda 21 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992,
the Kyoto Protocol in 1997,
the Paris Agreement in 2016
the creation of the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals.

But what does Earth Day represent today?

The legacy of Earth Day

The movement that generated from the first peaceful demonstration is still extremely important today, bringing together billions of people over the years. We are now witnessing a very diverse community being built around this special day. People, organisations, companies, institutions coming together to build a better world.

What we’ve realised is that in shifting times and an everchanging world, one thing still lies at the core of nature and the planet: people, communities. Therefore, on this 50th Earth Day there’s one very important thing that we want to truly celebrate. All those communities that are joining forces to tackle today’s greatest challenges and make a difference together.

And where does this leave the others? Those who are not taking part in this unstoppable global movement for change?

The celebration of this important anniversary should result in a very clear choice, especially pressing for businesses. Either we partner up and make people and the planet thrive, or we get out of the way. The world is watching and it won’t allow for any more shortcuts. It’s up to you to choose which side you’re on!

People, Planet or Profit? Partnerships!

Often businesses find themselves at a crossroad: how far shall I take into account the planet’s wellbeing? Or is it more important to put our people first? Perhaps I’ll just focus on profit...

Well, I can assure you that people, planet and profit are not mutually exclusive. In fact, for those who believe in the power of partnerships, I just got some advice on how to get it right.

Before delving into this new wave of the Triple Bottom Line (also known as TBL, 3Ps or 3BL), let’s have a quick look at what John Elkington meant by it.

The TBL was intended to be a sustainability framework used by companies to look into their social, environmental and economic real-world impact and performance. More than that, however, it was meant to trigger an awakening of consciousness, a deeper thinking about our future beyond just profit and loss.

So, there’s no better day than Earth Day to pull together all the tools we have. It’s time to empower businesses inclined to change and sustainability, and to do so through strategic partnerships. How? You may ask…

Let’s find out together how to strategically re-think the Triple Bottom Line.

Partnerships for People

People inhabit the world and people make every organisation: whether they’re suppliers, employees, customers, their families and communities. People make all the difference. It is therefore crucial to think about this wide range of stakeholders every time we operate. At the basis of your corporate strategy there needs to be people, and you should always take them into account.

You may wonder, how? Well, talk to them, involve them, ask them about what is important for their wellbeing and everyday life. Be an active member in your community by partnering with charitable organisations that are aligned to your goals and values. Do not underestimate the power of networks you can support.

Can’t you see the value of partnerships already? Embedding the first P in your stategy and building partnerships to support communities will not just make just your organisation and people to thrive, but the world at large.

Partnerships for the Planet

Same goes for our planet. People and planet are inextricably linked, and so is their wellbeing. When doing business, partnerships can be the key to improve your impact on the environment. Why? Because when partnering with grassroot organisations, you can benefit from their comparative advantage of both community and local environmental knowledge. For instance, if you have a heavy impact on the environment why not do something to balance that out? And who’s best placed to support you than an environmental organisation from the local area?

Such partnerships have the power to truly let you embed environmentally friendly actions within your supply chain. In other words, you won’t just be the best organisation in the world, but the best for the world.

Partnerships for Prosperity

The only thing a business can do when you proactively involve and take care of people and the planet is thrive. And of course, partnerships are invigorating for your prosperity. Careful, I’m not just talking about profit – because that would be reductive. But prosperity of your business and both the local and global economy.

And again, aligning your strategic objectives and corporate values with those of a charity can really be a plus. Let me clarify why. Partnering means to collaborate and to co-create and being aligned means you can move towards the same direction. A win-win direction – that’s right.

As a Greg Secker Foundation‘s survey reveals, if consumers knew a UK business gave a small percentage of its profits to charity:

➢ 43 per cent would have a more positive opinion of the company.
➢ 20 per cent would use the company over competitors.
➢ 17 per cent would recommend the company to friends/family.

Now that’s what Partnerships for Prosperity look like. And this impact can be internal and external, national and international as you build new relationships around you, finance projects that will support communities and foster innovation and change. So, share your knowledge and assets with a partner and liaise with a non-profit organisation along the way. You’ll find yourself being the benefactor as well as the beneficiary of an amazing prosperity.

On a final note

I invite you to take this time to reflect on your own TBL and ask yourself – what am I doing to celebrate Earth Day? And no, I don’t just mean a social media post. What can you actually do to celebrate our planet, people and prosperity? How can you finally drive the change we all want to live?

And remember… we’re here to play our role too. G.APP17 is the perfect tool to help your business or charity partner up and make a difference for everyone’s future, together. So, are you ready to be.come part of the change?

You can also E- meet G.APP17 on our latest blog.

Happy Earth Day to everyone!