While today, Earth Day is recognized and celebrated in almost every corner of the world, the origins of the movement take us back more than fifty years to a series of protests across the United States. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets to protest the environmental destruction caused by pollution and industrial development, and this is considered by many to be the birth of the modern environmentalist movement.
The success of the first Earth Day in drawing attention to these critical issues led to its growth in popularity, and by 1990 Earth Day had gone global, with more than 200 million people participating in 141 countries. More recently, celebrations have engaged over 1 billion people in 193 countries! Mirroring society as a whole, environmental protection and conservation have similarly come to the forefront of business policy as part of a larger focus on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance).
At Weichert, our pursuit of Winning Outcomes goes beyond our company, clients, and partners; we also seek to drive success for our communities, and, more broadly, the planet that houses us! But to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability, we needed metrics to track our progress and measure the effectiveness of our ESG solutions. That’s why, in 2021, we made the decision to partner with EcoVadis, a global leader in corporate sustainability ratings. As the world’s first and largest collaborative platform for trading partners to share, monitor, and assess sustainability performance, a partnership with EcoVadis would enable us to bring our partner providers along on this journey, allowing us to all work towards the same goals and specific targets.
Too often we get stuck in a triangle of inaction: people expect businesses to change their operating or business models, businesses expect governments to put the right policy frameworks or tax incentives in place and governments wait for people to change their behavior. Rather than blaming each other for a lack of action, we need to work together.Sylvain Guyoton
The process began with us providing EcoVadis with our policies, procedures and relevant environmental reports for their experts to review. In our first year, we were proud to receive a “Bronze” rating, along with a summary of the areas to focus on to help us improve. We didn’t waste any time translating this feedback into a comprehensive, actionable roadmap involving all stakeholders, uniting us on the path to climbing that podium! Some of this is reflected in our most recent CSR Report.
Some of the changes we have already implemented as a result of our EcoVadis review include annual Scope 1 & Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions reporting, and an enhanced Supplier Code of Conduct with a section dedicated to limiting environmental impact. And we’re only just getting started.
Thanks to the last generation of environmentalists, we have clean air to breathe and water to drink. The challenge we now face is reversing our impact on our warming planet. If we want to continue to enjoy our National Parks and time outdoors, we must take responsibility for our actions and get comfortable with change for the greater good. I am proud of the steps Weichert is taking in this direction and the dedication we share toward making a difference. Like the generation who started this movement, we owe it to the generations that follow us to leave the planet better than we found it.