Regenerative is the NEW Sustainable – for Brands
Over the last few years the concept of the Restorative (Regenerative) Economy has been gaining momentum. Just being “sustainable” is no longer considered to be enough. We need to do more than stop harming the planet, we need to restore as much of it as we can, to its former wild and natural state.
Our current “extractive economy” is based on digging up stuff, using it and then chucking it away, at an ever faster rate. This is already having a disastrous impact on our health, our climate and the ecosystems that give us life. As the global economy grows, it’s getting worse, and Earth Overshoot Day is getting earlier and earlier each year.
The facts and the stats are truly shocking.
We have killed two thirds of all the wildlife on this planet in the last 50 years!!!
This is just one of hundreds of shocking facts about habitat and wildlife loss. Then there is the pollution problem. Air pollution is estimated to kill 8.8 Million people each year. (Source) Plastic Pollution is getting so bad, it’s estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish. (Source) Microplastics are now so ubiquitous they are being found in the placentas of new born babies. These plastics can cause long-term damage and upset a foetus’s developing immune system. (Source)
We should all be shocked!
While the first priority must be to stop the destruction and act in a sustainable manner, the next priority must be to fix the mess we have made and ensure all life can thrive again. We need to not only stop chopping down the Orangutan’s habitat, for Palm Oil, but restore as much of what has been lost as possible.
Doughnut Economics is one of the leading schools of thought in this area. Based on the circular economy model, an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources, it also seeks to repair the damage we have already done to the planet. With Doughnut Economics “we switch from process that are degenerative by default to ones that are regenerative by design.”
Brands are not going to solve this and it would be fair to say they are part of the problem. But Brands are run by people and that doesn’t mean we can’t try and do the right thing. Through the Brands (Companies/Organisations) we lead or work for, we can all raise awareness, get involve in regenerative activities or suggest ideas for new projects.
Bank Australia is a perfect example. Having already addressed many sustainability issues, like becoming Carbon Neutral, they are also investing in their own Conservation Reserve. A 927 hectare property in Victoria, Australia, that is helping wildlife adapt to climate change, providing food and habitat for endangered species, protecting high-value bushland and storing biodiverse carbon. https://www.bankaust.com.au/responsible-banking/planet/conservation-reserve
Whole industries are becoming more aware of their impacts and are looking to Regenerative ideas. Regenerative Travel, takes sustainable tourism one step further. While sustainable travel aims to offset the negative impacts associated with travel, regenerative tourism is about actively improving the social or environmental conditions of your host country. https://www.euronews.com/travel/2020/11/09/can-travel-save-the-world-regenerative-travel-and-why-it-s-important
Oat Up is another brand with a focus on regenerative practices. It touts itself as “the world’s first regeneratively grown, carbon-neutral oat milk, made using oats from local Western Australian farmers.” https://www.oatup.com.au/#regenerative
Patagonia, a leader in environmental awareness, has its own initiative, Regenerative Organic Certification. Their goal is to pave the way to an agricultural future focused on enriching the soil, while valuing people and animals. https://www.patagonia.com/stories/join-us-the-journey-to-regenerative-organic-certification/story-33037.html
For the regenerative economy to really take off global economic systems will need to change. Governments will need to do much more to disincentivise activities that harm the planet and incentivise activities that restore. Making restorative activities not only socially and ecologically attractive but economically beneficial too. While there is a lot of Brand value to embracing regenerative thinking, there also needs to be financial value too.
I’m putting together a Presentation called “What’s the right regenerative project for your brand” If you are interested, please get in touch. If you know of any other Brands with interesting regenerative initiatives, drop me an email.