23 Apr 2021

Earth Day 2021: Time to build back better

By Andy Schmidt
Rainforest waterfall

The key message of Earth Day 2021 is ‘Restoring our Earth’ and as we celebrate Earth Day here at Seismic, and how this message resonates with our mission, it gives us all a chance to reflect on the last year and the drastic changes everyone has experienced since Earth Day 2020.

When the world was brought to a halt in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, governments and businesses had to shift their focus. Today, a year on, as we begin to navigate our way out of the pandemic and start to repair the economic, social and emotional damage the pandemic caused, we must collectively consider how we should be building back in order to restore our earth.

Earth Day 2021 comes at a significant time, and gives individuals, businesses and governments the opportunity to think about the lessons we can learn from the pandemic. Understanding similarities and differences, and the wider relationship between pandemics and climate risks is a vital first step if we are to draw out practical implications that can inform our future direction.

In much the same way as a pandemic, climate risks represent physical shocks which translate into a number of socioeconomic impacts. Moreover, pandemics and climate risks are similar in their systemic nature, in that their direct manifestations and repercussions spread quickly across a highly connected world. Despite this, the timescales of both the occurrence and the resolution of pandemics and climate risks are very different. The gradual, cumulative and often unequally distributed nature of climate hazards means that the climate crisis has been ignored for too long, despite it requiring the level of global urgency we have seen over the past year during the coronavirus pandemic.

The world can no longer afford to not devote time or attention to climate change and the broader issue of sustainability. With unavoidable warming to come over the next decade, and the associated physical and socioeconomic risks, aggressive decarbonisation is required to avoid the worst impacts of climate change post 2030. The post pandemic landscape presents a unique time for companies on their sustainability journey and the broader transition within the global economy. The message that doing the bare minimum isn’t going to cut it appears to be getting through, and leaders in government and industry are realising that responding to coronavirus and addressing sustainability issues can work in tandem, and we can restore our earth whilst repairing the damage from coronavirus.

Whilst Earth Day 2021 presents us with an opportunity for reflection, it’s message this year is about not returning to business as usual and the vital role of business in meeting the critical challenge of climate change has never been more apparent. In the same way that we have followed a road-map out of the covid crisis, businesses need to set sustainability goals and create detailed road maps for achieving them. If you are unsure where to begin as a business on your sustainability journey, the globally recognised B Corp and Net Zero frameworks provide businesses of all sizes with clear roadmaps to achieve their sustainability goals. At Seismic, we believe these are the best frameworks out there for meeting your desired targets as they offer the most robust assessment of your business whilst making your goals achievable. Companies that undertake a B Corp certification or commit to Net Zero are aware of the challenge and opportunity of big, bold steps, and also understand the danger of being passive and avoiding responsibility. Every company of every size has a part to play and a contribution to make and that is why our purpose at Seismic is to help change society and fix our planet.

The last year has shown that with true global coordination and cooperation we are able to overcome considerable challenges. Let’s maintain the urgency and cooperation used to address the pandemic, and focus it on building back better and taking seismic steps towards improving impact in every area of business. Use Earth Day 2021 to open a conversation with your business partner, with your boss, with your employees about B Corp and Net Zero and take your first steps towards the seismic changes required for a healthier more sustainable planet.