Running your business in the current climate you may not have noticed World Environment Day was last Friday. Granted, it was all online and a little low key this year.

World Environment Day has been held annually since 1974 and is the United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment.  Over the years it has grown to be the largest global platform for environmental public outreach, celebrated by millions of people in more than 100 countries.

This year’s focus was on biodiversity (the range of different species on earth) and, with one million plant and animal species facing extinction, there has never been a more important time to focus on it. Have a look at the UN’s promotional video entitled ‘Time for Nature’.

So what does this all have to do with you? Preventing the disappearance of a species of Amazon lizard or a rare orchid might seem beyond the control of the average person. What’s important to remember is that when one species disappears a delicate balance is disturbed. It’s like pulling on a loose thread of yarn to unravel an entire sweater.

Plants and animals depend on each other and microorganisms, land, water, and climate together keep our entire system healthy. The disappearance of one species can lead to the disappearance of others and at some point, everyone is going to feel it.

The UN is reminding us all that we need to rethink what we buy and use and become conscious consumers. As business owners, it’s also possible to incorporate bold, sustainable practices in our supply chains and financing.

Even if you missed World Environment Day there’s no time like the present to reflect on how your business or brand can contribute to the future of the planet. Most people would agree these days with Bill George from Harvard Business School who said,

“Just as people cannot live without eating so a business cannot live without profits. But most people don’t live to eat and neither must businesses live just to make profits.”

The good news is that, if we agree with this statement, we can share the responsibility of looking after the planet. So, how we can offer products or services which minimise damage to our planet and its people? The UN has provided loads of information and inspiration to enable businesses to grow and improve the quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

At Cre8ion, our brand marketing agency, we love helping our clients to harness the UN guidelines to become more sustainable and more competitive. We have, ourselves, chosen 5 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and placed them at the heart of Cre8ion, resulting in (amongst other things) a four day work week and research and development days.  

There are many ways to share the responsibility of minimising damage to the planet. For many companies, it’s simply a decision to divert a certain amount of profit into environmentally-friendly activity. Others have chosen to become publicly accountable for their choices by becoming B-Corps. Cre8ion is itself in the process of becoming certified as one.

B Corp UK launched in 2015, with 62 companies claiming status. There are now as many as 188 B Corps in the UK – 166 of which are fully certified, with 22 pending B Corp businesses. Becoming a B Corp is not that hard either. To become fully certified, you have to score 80 out of a possible 200 points in an online survey of 150 questions, pass a phone interview with B Lab and provide the necessary supporting documentation to validate your claims. Then you amend your corporate bylaws to include a commitment to positive social and environmental change.

Whatever you decide to do to make your brand more sustainable, it will give your brand more of a clear purpose. Consumers are better informed these days and when they associate your brand with doing the ‘right’ thing they’ll want to engage with it.

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