OUR PLANET IN DANGER
There is clear, measured evidence that the earth’s climate is changing further and faster than it ever has before. Our weather patterns are getting less predictable, with serious repercussions all over the world: some places are becoming warmer, resulting in melting ice caps, and rising sea levels, whereas others experience prolonged draughts, or excessive rainfall and floods.
The impact of these changes could be devastating on numerous levels. Many habitats and eco-systems could cease to exist, and with them we will lose the animals and plants which call them home. There will also be an impact on our daily lives and businesses: as climate directly affects crops, it will become increasingly difficult to get hold of natural materials like latex and cotton.
The good news, however, is that we can still make a difference if we act now. This is not just beneficial for the environment, but business too. We know that today’s climate crisis is caused by a change in the balance of different gasses in our atmosphere, which are produced by a range of industries. To make things simpler, however, they are all expressed as their equivalent in carbon dioxide, which is why so many are aiming to reduce their “carbon footprint”, or even become “carbon neutral.”
SUSTAINABILITY AND THE PARTY INDUSTRY
Views on sustainability are changing rapidly, both in Europe and worldwide. New laws within the EU Parliament and the Commission are paving the way for change which is having an impact globally, while data analysis by the European Balloon and Party Council (EBPC) shows consumers are demanding bolder solutions.
Many activists call for a complete ban on single use products, particularly plastic or non-recyclable ones. Of course, almost anything promoted by the party industry can be considered a luxury item, bringing the spotlight even more firmly on us.
However, it is impossible to imagine a world without parties and gatherings. As humans, social connection results in a psychology that is essential to our health, and such needs have become more evident than ever as the pandemic continues. But even in a world where social distancing quickly became the norm, parties and gatherings never ceased to exist. Instead, they reinvented themselves.
In reality, today’s pandemic has changed how consumers themselves view the environment and it is our responsibility, as an industry, to prove that a more environmentally- conscious society doesn’t have tobeaboringone-wecanall continue celebrating sustainably.
LEADING THE WAY WITH INNOVATIVE AND SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS
The EBPC has taken a leading role in helping to influence this rapidly changing landscape. For the past two years, we have been heading a special sustainability project group and steering the industry towards best practices.
A mindset shift has seen perceptions slowly change across the industry. We are all becoming conscious of our carbon footprints, and the possibilities of reusing and recycling are front of mind.
Sustainability has settled at the forefront of business planning and as such, creative systems, like renting or buying back textiles, have become a way to relieve the pressure on the environment and the supply chain. Similarly, our data analysis has revealed a huge change in consumers’ perception both positively and negatively in different geographical regions depending on consumer messaging.
There are always some businesses who look to ‘tick a box’ and claim they are making a change. It is important to realise, however, that consumers are not easily fooled by those who want a soundbite for social media, or a line to print on packaging. This sort of ‘greenwashing’ is liable to do more harm than good to a brand’s reputation. Your key messaging must be ‘in-line’ and transparent proportionately to the intention and actions of your business. Consumers and activists, who you may also consider your stakeholders, will not hesitate to validate your claims and call out discrepancies.
People are looking for a trustworthy partner in their own efforts towards sustainability. They want to continue celebrating special occasions with all the fun, colour and excitement they are entitled to, but in a more eco- conscious way, and you can win a loyal following by listening to their claims.
The race is on to find sustainable solutions in the party industry, and we can all do better if we collaborate to use resources efficiently and responsibly. After all, we only have one planet.
We need to work together to save it.