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Earth Day: Cheers to not returning to normal-normal

Posted by Clémence Avignon on Apr 22, 2021 8:00:00 AM

Spring is in the air, and it feels like it might be the end of this ever-lasting-covid-tunnel. We’re not epidemiologists or other virus detectives, but we do wonder what this return to normal means for the climate. 

Returning to normal, yes, no, maybe? 

We read a lot on COVID and returning to normal. There’s no consensus on what the after looks like. What do we want? How do we keep from falling back into our old ways? How do we Marie Kondo the hell out of the current state of things and reshape what’s next? 

Some news made us doubt a shift from business-as-usual was possible, for instance, with the World Bank wondering how we could exploit Bhutan untouched forests and Hyde Park already looking like an open landfill after the Londoners celebrated the lift of the lockdown under the sun. 

I get it; in a post-ish coronavirus world, we all are craving a return to normalcy. That being said, it would be untrue to say nothing has changed - We did see clear waters make a come back in Venice, a 7% fall in global CO2 emissions and new circular business models blooming. We did see more brands and more consumers conscious of the impact of “normal” on the planet and looking to act on it. 

But some questions remain: Are brands genuinely looking to change? Is this a long-term strategy, or are they just surfing on the “green” and “eco-friendly” trend?

While it is praiseworthy and welcome for brands to promote their more virtuous products and their commitments to sustainability, keep an eye open for bullshit. Some brands will try to bring new, truly impactful solutions and products, while others will simply find new ways of marketing crap products - and that’s called greenwashing. 

 

Greenwashing and why it's a no-no

Besides being a douche-move, greenwashing is slowing down the Ecological Transition. 

Climate change is a systemic problem. This means that everyone will be affected, no matter what you have done or will do. There’s no place, and there’s no time for greenwashing. 

Why is the practice harmful in 3 points: 

  • It destroys consumer confidence in brands, mainly when they communicate about sustainable development.
  • It comes in the way of really impactful innovation. How do we separate the good products from the bad ones?
  • It makes us think the ecological transition is underway when it’s not. We have the feeling we’re being sustainable when we’re not.

As a brand, as a citizen, speak up! The more the subject is brought up and discussed, the more likely we will reach the tipping point. 

Cheers to better-normal

Today is Earth Day 2021 and I am still optimistic!

I genuinely think now is our chance to get rid of the crap and only bring back what works. Ignore the deafening noise, and think about what you want to put back into your life after the pandemic. For the sake of it, here’s my post-apocalypse wishlist:

Going forward, I want to be able to head up to the bar after 9 pm, not limit the numbers of friends invited to gather on my couch, and order two desserts with one spoon to share. 

Now to the stuff I don't want anymore: no more greenwashing, I don't want to be tricked into buying a not-as-sustainable-as-it-says product, to shop just cause I’m bored, or to buy a new dress for one event only. And lastly, I don’t want to be throwing out single-use packaging ever again ;)

On that last point, here’s RePack vision for a new normal. A world of reuse beautifully illustrated by the very very talented Janne Iivonen

Thank you for reading, and happy Earth Day. 

Topics: Sustainability, Circular Economy, Insights