Earth overshoot day

“Growing up in central India in the 90s, I was accustomed to a way of life where social needs and waste was minimal. Zero waste shops were everywhere; furniture was built to last; households composted their food waste; we repaired our shoes at the cobblers and my grandmother would mend our clothes. Looking back, we were thinking, designing and living to co-exist with nature rather than exploiting it.” Nicole Machado, Account Manager, I&I

What is Earth Overshoot Day?

Earth Overshoot Day is the day in the year when our collective demand for the Earth’s finite resources exceeds what the Earth can regenerate in that year. In other words, any finite resource we consume after today, Wednesday 2 August 2023, will put us in an ecological ‘overdraft’ for the rest of the year. On Friday 28 July, Plastic Overshoot Day, we produced more plastic than our collective plastic recycling capacity. This means, more than *68.5 million tonnes of plastics and 420,000 tonnes of chemical additives will pollute the environment and our waterways this year alone.

The Global Footprint Network, maintains this deficit by liquidating stocks of ecological resources and accumulating waste, primarily carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, providing decision-makers with a menu of tools to help the human economy operate within Earth’s ecological limits.

*Fun fact- Based on our current consumption, we will need 1.8 Earths to meet our demands. Furthermore, if everyone on the planet lived like residents of the United States, we would need Five Earths to sustain ourselves (National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts 2022).

Our current ‘take-make-dispose’ economy is linear. We consume materials that eventually end in landfill as waste (the Pixar film WALL-E doesn’t seem so unrealistic now!). Transitioning to a ‘reduce-reuse-recycle’ circular economy requires rethinking our approach to production, consumption and waste recycling. Conversations around building a sustainable economy through Innovation, Climate Tech, Circular Economy, Biodiversity, Sustainable Transportation etc. are on the rise. An increased number of Venture Capitalists are backing Climate Tech. According to The International Energy Agency, more investment went into clean energy than in oil and gas in 2022.


What needs to change?

A lot more needs to be done to lead an overall systemic change through supporting innovation, lobbying for policy shift and implementing behavioural change. As communications professionals in the sustainability sector, we are driving change by backing purpose driven tech startups and organisations to deliver positive impact. Our clients are as diverse as our team - some days we find ourselves working on the strategic positioning of Tech For Good start-ups and some other days we are liaising with fishing communities in the Global South to tell their stories in the most impactful ways. We know that a NetZero transition won’t be possible without a nature positive transition, because there really is no business without nature.

How are our clients driving change?

This Earth Overshoot Day, we want to spotlight the work of some of our clients that are using innovation to promote a ‘reduce-reuse-recycle’, circular economy to help #MoveTheDate.

Finboot – Embodying the concept of, “what gets measured gets managed”, Finboot is harnessing blockchain technology to enable its customers in the traditional sectors (energy, chemicals, mining and construction) to track, trace and monitor their complex and interconnected supply chains to implement more efficient ways of working.

Labell-D – With *92 MILLION tonnes of fashion waste ending up in landfills each year, Labell-D is implementing behavioural change by encouraging a mindset shift. Its Digital Label connects the first and second-hand markets to encourage customers to turn their purchases into highly liquid assets, authenticating a product’s history through blockchain technology.

Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA) – ORRAA is on a mission to build the resilience of 250 million climate vulnerable coastal people by 2030. ORRAA partnered with rePurpose Global to manage plastic waste in the coastal state of Goa through plastic credits, making it financially viable to recycle and reuse low value plastics.

Final thoughts:
Because there is only one Earth, we believe in questioning our own worldviews and actions to embrace new ways of thinking, working and living more sustainably and in a more circular / less linear way! If you're looking for bold voices to drive your communication strategy, please get in touch.