You don’t need to be a scientist to know the earth is in a state of flux.

This afternoon, thousands of Australian school and university students are preparing to walk out of classrooms as part of the #schoolstrike4climate movement inspired by Swedish school student Greta Thunburg.

Strikes are planned in 120 countries with strikes happening in Metro and regional Australia. For a full list of the strikes, check out: https://www.schoolstrike4climate.com/sept20.

It is no wonder students are making a stand with Roy Morgan data showing 64% of people 14-24 consider themselves environmentalists, and 88.5% of them are convinced that if we don’t act now we will never control our environmental problems.

How bad really, is Australia’s impact on the environment?

The data below represents the global C02 emissions per capita, by country since 1800. While other countries had a head start on Australia, we have been catching up over the last 100 years. Our population is increasing, but data shows our emissions are increasing at a disproportionate rate – and that’s not sustainable.

If you look at the data since 1800, Australia are not the #1 offender, but fast forward to now, looking at just the last ten years of data, it shows that, while other countries are making changes and reducing emissions, Australia is going full steam ahead (pun intended) and have become the #1 per capita producer of C02 – We are competitive nation…but this is not the competition we really want to win.

Whilst not everyone agrees emissions cause climate change, what we can agree on is that they aren’t helpful and we should be doing everything we can to lessen our impact on the environment for future generations.

Australia, with its rich flora and fauna, has a lot to lose with climate change – and we are already suffering. Data from the Bureau of Meteorology shows an alarming rise in annual mean temperature and sea surface temperature anomaly.

 

So, what can we do??

Obviously, a push for government action is the main reason for this afternoon’s strike. This issue, however, is bigger than just our government – businesses can make a difference before consumers vote with their feet- Nielsen data shows that over 50% of Australians would be more likely to buy a product or service from a business that places importance on environmental responsibility.

In The Media Store’s 2019 Trends we highlighted the trend of “Social Impact goes Deep” which is a response to alarm bells ringing during the trust chaos of 2018. It’s not enough for brands to make a passive stand on just the issues that affect their business and customers. Brands are stepping up with initiatives to protect the safety of people and the planet. It’s an agenda driven by the need to fix problems, not just talk about them.

There is a call for brands to re-engineer business practices and their supply chain to get a win-win for society as well as their bottom line.

A recent example of businesses stepping up to fix issues is Sainsbury’s in the UK who have announced the use of refillable plastics in their stores with a view to HALVE their plastic packaging by 2025. The supermarket has also launched a section on their website dedicated to sharing the load to reduce plastic use https://www.about.sainsburys.co.uk/helpreduceplastic

Sainsbury’s announced the new initiative on 13th September– after the announcement, the Sainsbury Share Price climbed 6 Pounds in one day resulting in the highest share price for the company since May this year (Just prior to Theresa May Resignation).

A shift from businesses towards environmentally responsible practices doesn’t have to mean a drop in the bottom line. What can your business do to tackle climate change and win the hearts of Australia’s future at the same time?

Aly White