Gearing up for Earth Day and beyond


earth day

While Earth Day is a day of action for the environment, observed around the world on April 22, it’s clear that the planet needs our help on more than just one calendar day. To reinforce this message, Earth Day Canada is launching its Earth Day Every Day campaign to help Canadians make greener choices. And retailers, the group’s president says, have a role to play.

According to the environmental group, the Earth Day Every Day campaign will provide a national framework to measure collective action toward the goal of reducing our carbon footprint 20% by 2020, which happens to be the Earth Day movement’s 50th birthday.

“'Clean Your Commute’ is the launch theme of Earth Day Every Day,” says Deborah Doncaster, president of Earth Day Canada, noting that transportation currently accounts for about 30% of our carbon emissions, making it an important sector to tackle.

Read more about sustainable transportation and logistics

“Most people think of clean commuting in terms of getting to work, and for your employees that’s obviously relevant at the retail level, but I think shopping is something that’s usually done much more locally so it’s an area that’s prime for moving in a more commuter-friendly direction,” says Doncaster.

What can retailers do? Doncaster says one significant thing retailers could do is to pursue “location efficient retail outlets.” In other words, make it easier for people to access groceries. Aside from planning stores in convenient locations, this could also include ensuring plenty of bike racks and even bike share facilities to encourage shoppers to leave the car at home.

Earth Day Every Day also serves up an opportunity to engage employees. Doncaster says Earth Day Canada has materials available online to help retailers get their employees involved. "Earth Day Every Day is actually modelled on our employee engagement platform that we use with CN called EcoConnexions. It’s an online platform where the employees are presented with challenges both at work and at home." Employees log in and enter their actions, have a chance to connect with their colleagues and win prizes. Doncaster says the platform has been hugely successful and that there’s an opportunity to work with retailers to customize it specifically for their employees.

As the campaign rolls along other themes will be introduced such as "green at home" with a focus on the products and services available for purchase at various retailers. Incidentally, Earth Day Canada has licensing options available to retailers and producers, which allows the Earth Day Canada trademark to be associated with certain products.

Read more about Earth Day Every Day

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