This year, Earth Day is on the 22nd of April. World Environment Day is on 5th June.
Both have chosen plastic pollution as their theme for 2018, with a particular focus on single-use plastics, preferably their elimination.
This theme is much in the news this year, from the BBC's Blue Planet 2, to stories about the pacific garbage patch and so on.
Campaigns are springing up across societies and indeed across the world. This is an issue whose time has finally come.
That obliges those of us in the world of vertical farming, to take a look at ourselves, and our own practices.
As an industry, we are quite reliant on plastics, particularly single-use plastics for packaging of produce.
I'm sure we all got into this industry recognising the importance of sustainability.
Though our overall impact is small at this stage, we surely have a moral duty to do what we can.
Moreover, public sentiment is rapidly turning against single-use plastics, meaning that we will all have to face this issue sooner or later anyway.
The two dates of these international days therefore represent a window of opportunity for our industry.
Working together, we can amplify our voice and the recognition of our collective efforts.
We all start from different positions, and so it must be recognised of course, that there are limitations on what can be achieved within the short time frame.
Here then, are a few simple concrete steps that I propose be taken:
- Between now and 22nd April, we build a coalition of vertical farming companies, prepared to support this cause and work on the issue.
- On April 22nd, we publicly 'launch' the initiative, with all those agreeing to be part of it, posting/tweeting under unified hashtags and so on. At the same time, participants agree to assess their use of plastics (esp. single-use) between April 22nd and 5th June
- On 5th June, Participants release those assessments publicly. They then release a plan of how to reduce their plastic use (time-frame and method for this reduction would be up to each individual organisation)
This is rapidly becoming one of the defining environmental issues of 2018.
Our customers will expect and indeed demand action from us (more on this in my next article).
Our planet needs action from all of us.
We can also begin the longer discussions and processes that need to take place, to bring about better and lasting solutions.
If your company wants to be part of this project, then get in contact.