On the cusp of COP26

All eyes and ears are focused on the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, which is about to take place in Glasgow. This event is a celebration, call to action and an international signal of world leaders, professionals and influencers. It sends a message that we are making a global and collaborative effort to make the change and be the change that we want to see in the world.

This change is all about leaving the world better than we found it, and reversing, reducing or slowing down the damages of global warming. This effort is not just in the hands of our esteemed leaders. It is also about us – citizens of the world and consumers of all its resources.  Change needs to be top down and bottom up.

The connection of COP26 to Green Friday

And now for Green Friday.  Green Friday came about  to counter the “Black Friday” and other cyber week activities. The Green Friday notion is to nobly counter hyper-consumerism and to encourage impactful and sustainable shopping. Green Friday is also about raising awareness of the dark-side of Black Friday. Take for example the post-purchase environmental impact of the event; like the catastrophic flooding of the online product returns in the days after the massive shop.

Green Friday was spearheaded by consumers and retailers alike. But clearly, in order to be effective, Green Friday needs to be not a “day-in the-life”, but rather a “lifestyle”. We – retailers, consumers and citizens of the globe – need to taking steps for day-to-day change. We need to be actively learning and re-modelling our behavior to live Green Friday every day.

This brings us back to COP26. Aptly named – and excuse the pun – we should all definitely be “copping” or policing a more direct, forceful regulation of carbon emissions in order to yield more effective results. Let there be no doubt, we are running out of time.

We need definite action, also in places that are hard to reach

The supply chain is one such place that we need to see more accountability. In her article in the Financial Times, Peggy  Hollinger stresses that there should be increased accountability for scope 3 emissions – or indirect emissions, even if retailers are wary to be held accountable for emissions once  their products have left the factory or the store.

COP26 is an opportunity to send a signal that our leaders want to inculcate the spirit of Green Friday into our mindset and our daily execution, no matter who we are, what we do and no matter how easy or difficult it is to be held accountable. We can and must do more.

Let us hope that a clear message will be sent far and wide, that we are ready and willing to do what it takes.