The Power and Responsibility of the sustainable Consumer & Employer in the digital media Age

The latest episode of Start-up playground podcast is here, starting off February of 2020 with a new topic — Sustainability and its role for Consumers and Employers alike.

Join the newest episode of 2020 with Startup Playground Podcast, where we meet the Entrepreneurial minds behind the start-up company ‘hoodHeroes Frederik Rubens Mortensen & Jonas Bruun Jacobsen.

Find the Full Podcast Episode here: http://bit.ly/3ad1Y9w

The Company fiercely believes that engaging in sustainability is everybody’s business. With this in mind, the ‘hoodHeroes platform adopts a rating system allowing everyday people and experts to comment on brand’s engagement in SDGs. (SDG’s standing for United Nations “Sustainable Development Goals”). The platform allows at the same time for any business to voice their commitments and show inspiration to create greater sustainability in the marketplace.

With the theme of this episode centered all around Sustainable developments — we found ourselves asking — with the Digital age era at our doorsteps, what really is the power and role of responsibility of consumers and Employers?

1. WHAT IS SUSTAINABILITY?

Sustainability is a simple concept. In 1987, the UN Brundtland Commission defined sustainable development as

“meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

1.2 THE 17 AREAS OF SUSTAINABILITY THAT WILL TRANSFORM THE WORLD — HERE’S HOW COMPANIES ARE PARTICIPATING

With Sustainability concept in mind, United Nations have created the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to transform our world. The Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future and address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environment, peace and justice.

Find more about the goals here — https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/.

Now more than ever companies are participating in creating their products and services as well as adapting business process to be more aligned to sustainability. We at Startup Playground by now have had a few guest entrepreneurs with companies that were inspired by sustainable and green mentality and centered their businesses around it such as Volunteer Abroad — Following UN Sustainable Development Goals, Goal 17 “partnerships for the goals” as well as Sustainable WAIR — creating up cycled footwear from textile waste material.

2. HOW PEOPLE ARE CHANGING THE WORLD — POWER BEHIND SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY TRENDS

It’s no secret that the digital era is upon us, and social platforms and other mediums have connected the people all around us. Everyone is more interconnected and capable of communication more than ever in the history of our planet and it has lead to some interesting development not only on how people interact with each other but on the way companies are doing business.

The media platforms and digital age has created the capability to unite people on social trends and means to voice their opinions in a more impactful way — and with a strong rise in desire for green and sustainable mentality the people are creating a shift that also resonates with companies and name brands across the globe.

2.1 HOW PEOPLE CHANGED THE WORLD IN 2018 — THE STORY OF HOW PLASTIC STRAWS GOT CHANGED TO SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVES WITH A SOCIAL TREND

Since the begging of first soda drink ever popped, people have been addicted to the use of plastic straws, with them being a favorite for the variety of soda drinks and other cold beverages. However a curious thing happened in midst of 2018 — a trend where people lost their affection for the highly common single use plastic straw.

On January 12 of 2018, Surfrider Foundation, an environmental group focused on ocean pollution, declared 2018

“the year we say goodbye to straws.”

In the following weeks, the organization built a coalition of other like-minded organizers. As the attention grew, Seattle would go on to become the first major city in US to enact a ban on plastic straws and utensils by July to the same year.

However the trend did not stop there, as social media carried the enthusiasm behind social responsibility against further polluting the oceans with plastic waste and with it a stream of social media videos and pictures emerged towards a goal to get rid of plastic straws.

By now, more than 38 million people have seen the disturbing 8-minute viral video of the sea turtle with a stream of blood draining from his nostril, as two researchers work to extract a 4-inch plastic straw. The endangered turtle was found in waters, off the Pacific shore of Costa Rica — and became the poster child of change towards the cause.

The world’s oceans are filled with more than 150 million tons of plastic, according to the Ocean Conservancy and the social trend was set to make a step into the direction of positive changes.

2.2 THE IMPACT TRANSLATED INTO MARKETPLACE — WITH BRANDS GOING SUSTAINABLE

The impact of the people translated into the consumer space and carried a wave of many brands working towards the same positive outcome.

Starbucks announced that they will stop using disposable plastic straws by 2020, eliminating more than one billion straws a year. Instead, Starbucks, which has more than 28,000 stores worldwide, will use recyclable, strawless lids on most of its iced drinks.

Starbucks described its desire to change as

“forward thinking in tackling the material waste challenge.”

It was a thought that resonated on social platforms and a point where the responsibility of the consumer and the employers met to create a change towards sustainability. Starbucks is not the only example of this social movement as The Company is joined by at least seven other companies in removing plastic straws to cut back on environmental waste.

Photo by TR on Unsplash

American Airlines joined Starbucks by announcing its plans to replace plastic straws on-board planes with biodegradable alternatives. Equally The Hilton Hotels announced to cut its environmental footprint in half by 2030, and outlined its plans to remove plastic straws from 650 properties in 2018, replacing straws with a paper or biodegradable option. Marriott International Hotel Chain said it would remove plastic straws from more than 60 of its UK hotels, according to the BBC, providing alternative options.

Additionally the change has given a rise towards a demand for a more eco -friendly options such as multi use, collapsible carry on metallic straws, or biodegradable options which are now more commonly seen in restaurants near you.

This story is an interesting case, it shows the power behind customers and company owners working towards a responsible and sustainable change, and it is only the beginning and one of many as we move further into the digital media era.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

We are living in a time of a unified fast paced change where we as citizens and customers have the highest ability to participate in changing not only our lives but the course of the brands around us — creating lasting positive change on the planet. We find exciting that brands and the employers behind those brands are as equally interested in the positive change and are willing to adjust to create the change that will build a better future and we hope this will inspire you as the reader to participate in this future as well.

Be sure to check out the full podcast episode on Start-up Playground Podcast here, where this and topics on entrepreneurship are discussed more with ‘hoodHeroes and its co-founders — Frederik Rubens Mortensen & Jonas Bruun Jacobsen.

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