Africa: Brands must adopt sustainable practices to combat climate change

brands - climateaction

Africa: Brands must adopt sustainable practices to combat climate change

Climate change is a burning issue around the world, as human activities continue to drive climate change and impact biodiversity.


The global community established SDGs, adopted the Paris Climate Agreement, and proposed to keep global temperature increase below 2.0 °C or 1.5 °C to prevent a catastrophe. This has left the world with a limited carbon emission budget which requires substantial reductions in yearly emissions.


For a continent like Africa already advantaged by extreme poverty, the climate crisis disproportionately affects the continent, making it highly vulnerable to droughts, floods, storms, and rising sea levels, and threatening its very existence.


As climate change continues to dominate conversations on the continent and as individuals organizations, and governments are rising to these challenges, seeking ways to mitigate its devasting effects, and working towards a sustainable future, it is imperative that brands (whose actions have far-reaching environmental impacts on the planet) adopt sustainability.


This will not only contribute towards efforts at attaining net-zero but also ensure that these brands appeal to consumers as the average consumer is now more conscious about their lifestyle.


We bet you hear a lot about the rise of the conscious consumer ― you might even be one. Since it has been established that ecological issues influence all human activities, people have not only become more concerned about their natural environment but are becoming increasingly conscious about the products they use.


The dramatic increase in environmental degradation has had a profound effect on consumer behavior and caused a shift from unsustainable products to green or eco-friendly products to ensure the safety and welfare of humans and the environment.


What this means is that people are becoming more discerning in relation to what they purchase, where they purchase, and the environmental impact of what they purchase.


As people become more conscious of the way their lifestyles could impact the climate in a negative way, their consciousness is translating to actions as they now prefer buying from companies that share their values.


To help Africa tackle climate change by cutting carbon emissions, brands can preserve forests as crucial carbon sinks by eliminating deforestation (whether through land clearance for agriculture or illegal logging) from the supply chain.


They can also source raw materials more sustainably because the process by which raw materials are extracted has a huge impact on the environment. The key to sustainable sourcing is knowing where every component comes from and what processes they undergo before reaching the factory.


With the use of third-party verification, brands can ensure that their ingredients have not been extracted at the expense of the world’s wildlife.


Beyond that, brands can help mills and factories where raw materials are processed, as well as suppliers in mining operations, adopt practices that reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging them to work toward carbon neutrality by cutting consumption and using renewable energy.


Furthermore, incentivizing suppliers to grow ingredients in harmony with nature using regenerative farming practices that preserve and restore the soil is another way for brands to eradicate soil degradation and improve soil health (soil is an important carbon sink).


Finally, since the key to sustainable choice for consumers is information, brands must prioritize transparency by listing the origins of their ingredients on product packaging. This is also essential to making supply chains more sustainable.

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