Speaking UP about climate change
For Gen Z, climate change is a source of real anxiety and frustration. Our Young People Programme has been helping students to find ways to speak out.
Playing our part in the future of our planet might seem like a daunting task, but if there’s one thing we all know, success lies in togetherness. When we each make a pledge to act more responsibly – whether that’s as individuals, businesses or governments – we’re one step closer to our goal. But where to begin? We’ve asked three Canon EMEA Sustainability Leads about the day-to-day ways in which they channel our corporate philosophy of Kyosei – living and working together for the common good – to lead a more sustainable life.
Daniel Hahn of Canon Germany… saves electricity
“Everyone is talking about the skyrocketing energy prices and from an environmental perspective, saving electricity has always been a very important issue. According to our Federal Environment Agency (UBA), the combustion of fossil fuels is the biggest driver of CO2 emissions in Germany – 84% in 2021, with households accounting for approximately 12%. Two obvious courses of action (which the UBA also recommends), are reducing energy consumption and using green electricity. Not rocket science, is it?
A reduction in energy consumption also has the benefit of having a direct impact on your wallet. So, are your electrical appliances modern and economical? Do you keep your appliances and lights on even when they are not in use? In Germany, we use a website that offers tips on how to reduce consumption, but also lets you find out whether you consume more electricity than the average household with plenty of valuable suggestions for action. When it comes to your electricity at home, it’s easy to switch – there are many national and local suppliers of green electricity tariffs. However, it is important to look for labelled products, because this guarantees green electricity. The respected Öko Institut also gives advice on what to look out for when switching.
Louise O’Driscoll of Canon EMEA… considers her clothing
“When deciding what to do with unwanted clothing or accessories, my general rule of thumb is to resell items online, give them to friends who will use them or donate them locally. However, I try to minimise my need to get rid of a lot of fashion purchases by making more careful considerations when I’m buying clothing. I research fashion brands online to find out as much as I can about their sustainability ethics – what are their policies on ethical working practices? How are these policies audited? I also pay careful attention to the materials they use and whether there are pesticides and chemicals used in production. Thankfully, many now sell organic cotton clothing, which is so much more skin – and earth – friendly.
Fast fashion isn’t good for our bodies or our planet, yet the industry booms. When I was younger there was a general rule of thumb that you wouldn’t wear the same outfit twice. In 2019, The Guardian reported that, “one in three young women, the biggest segment of consumers, consider garments worn once or twice to be old”. It’s for this reason that I often buy items that are timeless, rather than fad items, where the quality or design won’t stand the test of time. According to earthday.org, as well as the fashion industry being responsible for over 8% of total greenhouse gas emissions, there are also huge issues around gender equality and workers’ rights in certain segments. You can find out more at ethical fashion site, Good On You.”
Adam Pensotti of Canon EMEA… thinks about every journey
“My family and I are lucky as we can walk to all the shops we need, and we all try to make sure that we buy local wherever possible. For example, we buy all our fruit and vegetables from the local market – this also means that our purchases have no plastic packaging, at all. We buy our porridge, nuts, raisins, cleaning and bathroom products from a local zero packaging/bulk buy store. We also all try to avoid buying new, instead looking to recycle or upcycle where we can. My sons, who are 16 and 17, use Depop to buy and sell clothes – it works out cheaper and it’s better for the planet. My wife and I regularly use eBay or Facebook Marketplace.
We limit our car use as much as we can, and often go for days without any driving. In fact, when I’m in London I only use my bicycle, which I bought from eBay for £100, and keep it at the station. There are permanent bike racks all over the place these days, so it’s no inconvenience. It’s not only more efficient, far faster and healthy, but it’s free! In fact, all the changes we have made as a family have been a win-win in this way. They save us money, are easy to do, have no negative impact on our lives, and – most importantly – they are good for the planet and mean that fewer products and packaging are created.”