This week sees the start of Earth Week celebrations culminating in Earth Day on 22 April.
World Earth Day has been celebrated every year on 22 April since 1970. Twenty years after the first Earth Day, the campaign spread internationally. According to the Earth Day Network, the 1990 demonstration mobilised 200 million people in 141 countries.
As a company, we have a role to play in contributing to a cleaner and healthier world. The theme of this year's Earth Day, "Invest In Our Planet," aligns closely with our core purpose, and the origins of Earth Day also hold significance for us. It was sparked by the Santa Barbara, California, oil spill in 1969, highlighting the need for environmental protection and responsible practices in the oil and gas industry.
As a global organisation specialising in oil spill response and environmental services, we are committed to reducing our environmental impact and promoting sustainable practices. Celebrating Earth Day allows us to reflect on our progress and identify areas where we can continue to positively impact our planet.
As an organisation, OSRL and our employees across the globe have been focusing on some of the six themes of this year's Earth Day:
To reduce our carbon footprint and support sustainability, we have partnered with TreeApp to plant two trees for every employee, totalling 550 trees planted in areas of the world that need these trees the most. In these areas, it's not just about improving air quality; the planting of these trees creates local job opportunities as well as having socio-environmental benefits such as fruit and coffee trees to provide sustenance, and income for locals and mangrove trees planted in water to restore coral reefs and sea beds, vital for aquatic wildlife.
These 550 trees will absorb 60 tonnes of carbon in their lifetime; that's the equivalent of:
- running 13 petrol-fuelled cars for one year, driving on average 11,500 miles,
- supplying 11.7 homes with electricity for one year using on average 11,880 KWh or,
- fully charging 7,298,559 smartphones with a 2-hour charge time.
In turn, we've encouraged our employees to purchase trees to plant them in their private outdoor spaces, get involved in local tree planting initiatives to sponsor a tree, or even help plant trees in their local communities.
As an organisation, we're committed to reducing our plastic use across the business. From an OSRL procurement perspective, we include specific sustainability criteria in the procurement selection and evaluation process. This includes a focus on the elimination of single-use plastics.
We continue to try and improve in these areas across the business and look for suppliers that strive to minimise their impact on the environment, human health, and livelihoods throughout their products' life cycle.
We encourage our employees to do the same in their everyday lives, such as visiting their local zero-waste shops where taking reusable containers from home can be filled from the supplies in the shop, getting milk delivered in the UK in reusable glass bottles, and purchasing more items in bulk where possible to reduce plastic consumption. Making little changes in your everyday life can have a massive impact.
With one-third of plastics ending up polluting the environment, the impact of waste affects not only how humans perceive the area but also the ecosystems it finds itself in and the sustainability of nature.
Thousands of marine species and birds worldwide have been and continue to be affected directly by plastic pollution. They can ingest, get tangled, and make their nests with this waste. It is hazardous to all aspects of their lives and health. Removing this waste from the environment as much as possible will reduce these hazards.
We've encouraged our employees to participate in the Global Clean Up initiative by utilising their time off given (three days annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) days) for volunteering for good causes to conduct a beach, river, park or any outdoor public space clean-up.
Cleaning up beaches and riverbanks will benefit the ecosystems, ultimately removing plastics from the oceans and creating a better environment for all living creatures to enjoy. OSRL employees recently participated in a successful plastics recovery training exercise in Shamrock Quay, Southampton, UK, alongside Oracle Environmental Experts and undergraduates from the University of Southampton to trial equipment and review its effectiveness in collecting nurdles and other plastics in the environment.
With plastics, it's not just about what we see there and then; it's the life and journey of that waste and how it affects all living beings. As the human race, we are responsible for the production, use and disposal of waste and plastics in our environment; we need to take responsibility for cleaning it up.
As a Native American Proverb says, "We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children." We encourage all to work together to create a brighter future for ourselves and future generations; hopefully, this blog has given you some ideas on how you can help Invest In Our Planet.
Together, we can make a difference! Happy Earth Day 2023!!