“Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives…
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.”
— Carl Sagan
Every day, but especially Earth Day, I think it’s important to reflect on the impacts of our activities on our little blue dot. We live in a pivotal moment for environmental awareness, and at the same time we have a great challenge ahead of us. We are becoming more aware that our current model of consumption & pollution is not sustainable.
“There’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.’
— U.S. President Barack Obama, UN Climate Change Summit, September 23, 2014
I believe business can, and must, play a leading role in change. I am an optimist. I see entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists & other changemakers reinventing systems. I see consumers demanding more accountability from products they support. I believe that we can change our habits in the face of evidence. I believe every business should be measuring environmental and community impact alongside finance, it’s simply good business.
I’m inspired by Patagonia, who is through various environmental initiatives becoming so much more than an apparel brand; by Fairware who changes the way you think about promo merchandise; by Stanley Black & Decker, who has launched a broad corporate social initiative around the United Nations 2030 sustainable development goals. Here’s some of the environmental initiatives we have implemented at Arbutus Medical:
Carbon neutral shipping - We ship packages domestic and international with UPS Carbon Neutral Shipping, this means that for every tonne of CO2 a package produces in transportation, an equivalent amount of CO2 is saved by a verified emission reduction project somewhere else in the world.
Electric couriers - We courier packages around the city via the Novex electric vehicle fleet.
Soft plastics recycling - We create soft plastics waste from sending and receiving packages. We reuse packaging where possible, and otherwise bring them to the city’s recycle depot once a month.
Textile scrap recycle with Fabcycle - We donate textiles used in testing or prototyping to Fabcycle, who reuses them. We love the Fabcycle concept & service.
Sugarsheet sugarcane printer paper - Sugarcane paper is made locally with 100% waste sugarcane pulp. It’s the next best thing to not printing at all.
Here are areas that Arbutus Medical aims to do better in 2019:
Shipping/receiving internationally remains a major pollutant. UPS has some big plans for reusable packaging and full fleet electrification that we’d love to see ASAP!
Flying releases a lot of carbon. We utilize video conferencing but sometimes you need to meet in person. I’d like Arbutus Medical to offset the flights we choose to take.
Recycled and recyclable packaging. Arbutus Medical balances the need for our products to look professional vs. limiting packaging. Our team feels like we are striking a balance now, but there are opportunities to do better with packaging that has more recycled content and is more easily recycled.
Empowering our team. We’d like to carve out more time for our team to dedicate to their own environmental or community interests.
A big challenge requires big action, and yet, a big journey begins with just a few steps. What can you do to reduce your environmental impact on Earth Day 2019? If not us, then who?
You can learn more about Earth Day via earthday.org