Today’s Solutions: May 19, 2024

April is Earth Month, a time to celebrate and protect our world. The annual Earth Day celebration on April 22 draws more than a billion people, making it the greatest civic event in the world. 

Earth Month is an expansion of the Earth Day movement, which originated in the early 1970s in the United States. This year, the theme of Earth Day is “Invest in Our Planet.” In this article, we’ll look at the history of Earth Day and Earth Month, as well as five excellent initiatives that businesses have undertaken to commemorate Earth Day.

The history of Earth Day and Earth Month

On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day took place in the United States as a grassroots movement to raise awareness about environmental issues and environmental justice. Approximately 26.8 million tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) were emitted in the United States at the time, compared to 7.6 million tons in 2021, and there was little government regulation to safeguard the environment (the Environmental Protection Agency did not yet exist).  

The Earth Day movement was initiated by Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson and supported by a network of activists, organizations, and millions of individuals participating in events and activities across the United States.  

The initial event effectively increased national awareness of the adverse impacts of pollution on ecological and human health and prompted government action. In the years that followed, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a number of environmental regulations, such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, were established.

Earth Day became global in 1990, launching Earth Month, celebrated every April. In 2009, the United Nations declared April 22 International Mother Earth Day due to its popularity. Over 190 nations commemorate Earth Day. Earth Month is a time to celebrate environmental achievement and recommit to addressing the climate problem and other environmental issues.

Earth Day is a great time for companies to assess their sustainability efforts and make changes. Many people use the day to reflect on their own behavior or make personal changes.

5 effective Earth Day campaigns from well-known companies

Companies should take environmental protection seriously. Here are five firms that pulled off successful Earth Day campaigns:

Patagonia’s “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign

For Earth Day 2011, the outdoor clothing brand Patagonia developed a campaign called “Don’t Buy This Jacket.” It was intended to respectfully discourage customers from purchasing new apparel. Instead, it urged them to repair or reuse what they already had in order to contribute to a circular economy. It’s an example of “Systematic Authenticity,” which prioritizes people and the environment before business, however there’s no doubt that advertisements like this have contributed to Patagonia’s ongoing and long-term success, despite emphasizing the significance of sustainable consumerism.

Apple’s “Liam” recycling program

Apple announced its “Liam” program on Earth Day 2016. Liam was a robot that recycled iPhones to recover aluminum and cobalt for new goods. The program reduced e-waste, promoted sustainable production, and strengthened the tech giant’s commitment to carbon-neutral products.

IKEA’s “Buy Back” program

For Earth Day 2020, IKEA introduced an initiative simply named “Buy Back.” Customers could return gently used IKEA furniture for a discount.  

IKEA was known for disposable products, but the program encouraged buyers to reuse furniture. In its first year, 19,000 pieces of furniture were recirculated, changing the brand’s image. The buy-back-and-resell program is still running today.

Google’s “Your Plan, Your Planet” campaign

For Earth Day 2019, Google launched a campaign called “Your Plan, Your Planet.” The campaign offered customers a personalized carbon footprint assessment as well as suggested carbon-reduction initiatives. Google also promised to offset the campaign’s carbon footprint. 

Adidas “Run for the Oceans” campaign

For Earth Day 2019, Adidas presented “Run for the Oceans.” People were encouraged to run and track their kilometers using the Runtastic app as part of the promotion. Adidas has vowed to donate $1 for every kilometer logged to the Parley Ocean School, an organization that educates and empowers young people to conserve the ocean.  

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