After Earth Day: We Can’t Go Back to Business as Usual

Joe Ronan

Joe Ronan

Hero Image Earth Day 2021

Today we bring you a conversation between our very own Tom, Head of Growth at One Tribe, and our friends James and Adam over at Walk London. Walk are a shoe-brand of the highest quality and a One Tribe partner. They joined Tom to talk about Earth Day, sustainability in business, and protecting rainforests with One Tribe.   

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Earth Day: We Can’t Go Back to Business as Usual

Earth Day 2021 sent a strong message: “as the world returns to normal, we can’t go back to business-as-usual.” The pandemic has been a moment of rupture, of breakage, and of new possibilities emerging. 

Who would have thought, just a year or two ago, that the UK Government (and a Conservative government at that) would furlough 11.4m people, paying them to stay at home? Who had even heard of furlough? Prior to coronavirus, Donald Trump was polling well – he was on track to win a handsome victory in the 2020 election and return for a second term. Now he’s sat somewhere ceaselessly scrolling through Twitter whilst Joe Biden tries to solve the climate crisis. The point being: things have changed.    

As the guys at Walk London put it:

“I think actually, one of the slogans this year is: we can’t go back to business as usual… That’s a really key point to take away. For us, now is the time to start making that positive impact.”

“Especially with the year we’ve just had, I think it’s really highlighted to us the importance of ensuring that we’re sustainable and on the right road, leading in that direction.” 

“We’re looking at ways we can have a massive impact now, rather than later.”

“Everyone is trying to change the way they live, and also the way they work… And we don’t want to just talk a good game, or say we’re doing something that we’re not quite doing and they [One Tribe] have really allowed us to have an instant impact.”

Instant impact, and trying to change – these are the key takeaways from this year’s Earth Day.

Joe-Biden climate leadership by the US was unthinkable just a year ago

Earth Day: Sustainability is a Journey

Change, however, is pretty much always incremental. Things take time, we can’t expect to wake up one day and find ourselves and our society totally transformed. “It is an ongoing process… we’re excited to keep on learning,” says Walk London, about their own journey towards sustainability. 

Walk London uses LWG certified tanneries. Leather Working Group ensures that leather is ethically and sustainably sourced. As a result, their supply chain is fully transparent and traceable, with more stringent chemical compliance regulations.

On average, using LWG rated leather manufacturers save 12.1 billion litres of water, every year. 

The first-ever Walk London ladies collection is out, which is fully LWG certified.

Likewise, Walk is hoping to move to 100% recyclable packaging on shoe boxes, and continue making steps in the right direction alongside us here at One Tribe.  

Consumers do have the power to drive positive change

“The vision that goes alongside that is changing the way the business world operates” – this is Tom again, talking to Walk about the One Tribe vision. “And educating consumers that they have the power to drive positive change through their choices.” 

Because consumers do have the power to drive positive change: the trees protected by Walk London’s partnership with One Tribe have reduced the equivalent carbon footprint of 850 people in the UK each year. The aim is to drive those businesses that do not act sustainably into irrelevance.    

But sustainability is, at this stage, always going to be a process: something to be negotiated worked out worked towards. Part of the point of One Tribe is that we’re here to help businesses avoid irrelevance and make the transition to positive climate action. 

Member of Leather Working Group

Earth Day: Restore our Earth by Protecting it 

Restore our Earth was another one of the messages from this year’s Earth Day. One Tribe seeks to restore our earth by protecting our rainforests. Perhaps this sounds paradoxical, here’s Tom to explain why it actually makes a lot of sense: 

“Deforestation counts for about 15% of net global carbon emissions each year, which is obviously massive. It’s the same as all transportation put together: trucks, planes, cars, boats, trains.”

“70,000 acres or so of tropical rainforests are lost every day.” 

“On the one side it’s the loss of habitat, and, on the other side, the CO2 that’s being released into the atmosphere… but also, it’s the fact that the rainforest takes hundreds if not thousands of years to recover to a point at which it’s sequestering and storing as much carbon as it is now. It’s a really long road back, once it’s gone.”




Restore our Earth Day
” Rainforest protection is something that helps in the really short term”

The UN set the Sustainable Development Goals in place with an emphasis on urgency and action. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is about transforming our world. It’s a short-term target, 2030, that recognizes the urgency of the climate crisis that we face. There’s a tipping point; we’re too close for comfort. 

“Rainforest protection is something that helps in the really short term. To help us to achieve those short-term goals in terms of carbon and in terms of temperature rises.”

“I’m not going to criticize anyone for planting trees. But it’s not going to help us for our 2030 goals. And it’s not really going to help us much for our 2050 goals. It’s quite a long-term strategy.” 

From Earth Day Onwards

We can’t go back to business as usual. That seems absolutely clear. It’s clear to the boys from Walk London, it’s clear to Tom and us all at One Tribe, and hopefully also to you.

There’s action on climate change happening every day now – perhaps Earth Day 2021 is the one we’ll look back at and say, ‘oh, that’s when it clicked.’  

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