The world is changing, of that there is little doubt, dependent on your politics, some would say it’s for the better, others for the worse. In the last few weeks though there have been a number of things that have made me worry about both the state of the world, and whether we, as a people are caring less about the environment and the people in it.
The first thing that gave me pause for thoughts was the fact that Earth Overshoot Day, the date when humanity’s annual demand on nature and the planet exceeds what the Earth can regenerate over the entire year, was announced. This year Earth Overshoot Day fell on August 2, the earliest date yet. The practical costs of this global ecological overspending include deforestation, drought, fresh-water scarcity, soil erosion, biodiversity loss, as well as the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It seems that as a species we take so much for granted that we are continually, and over a long time are destroying the planet. I think of myself as someone who tries to do the right thing when I can and my own personal Earth Overshoot Day was he 25th May, so that is scary. It shows that we all must do more.
The second thing was the news that Green and Blacks is launching its first UK product without a Fairtrade or organic label later this month. Green & Black’s was the first chocolate in the UK to be awarded the Fairtrade mark back in 1994. Instead of the Fairtrade mark, the brand’s new Velvet Edition dark chocolate bars will display a “Cocoa Life” tag. There will also be no organic label, unlike all other brand variants. The brand does claim that the Cocoa Life programme is run in “partnership” with Fairtrade. Green & Blacks have long been one of the ethical brands who embrace organic and Fairtrade so it seems strange and disappointing to see them moving from that in search of bigger profits.
They aren’t the only company looking at abandoning Fairtrade marking, both Sainsbury’s and Tesco are looking at abandoning the marking, in exchange to other less known ethical certification, I guess the problem for me is I don’t know these certifications as well and that may well be a failing of mine.
The third are the horrific events in Charlottesville in the US which have left 1 dead and many injured. Whatever your politics we have to make a stand against these people, the white supremacists who think it is OK to walk through a city brandishing torches and shouting Nazi slogans must be told that it is unacceptable in every way. I was pleased to see many local businesses standing up to the far right protesters.
I know that none of what I have highlighted specifically proves we are caring less. but with the US looking to support a return to using more fossil fuels in its desire to promote coal over renewables, and pulling out of the Paris Achord, it would seem that in the last few months/years we have stopped caring as much about the environment than we used to. I know that it’s easier to care about the environment when businesses are booming and since the Global Financial crash we never seem to have got that level of optimism back. It is great that companies such as Thai Union are improving their environmental supply chain and methodology, but I feel we need it more than ever now.
To be fair it isn’t all bad news for Fairtrade this week and Co-op has teamed up with the Kumala wine brand to create an entirely new product which meets the strict Fairtrade standards.
Unilever’s report this year showed there was a big upswing on their ethical products so maybe it’s just an overreaction from me and people are seeing the value in ethical products, but the Earth Overshoot day, and my own score specifically was quite a sobering moment.
Ethical Marketing is such an important part of getting the message across that I look forward to seeing how people move forward with the tasks ahead of us.
As always if you agree, or disagree or have something to say please comment below, all opinions on this blog post are those of Stuart Mitchell and not necessarily Ethical Marketing News.