This month, March, is B Corps Month. It’s the time of year when B Corps from every corner of the globe come together with a single bold message. This year that message is #wegobeyond.
By engaging in the B Corp process, we were asked tough questions about our business and who we work with, which in turn encouraged our partners and suppliers to think about their businesses. This helps to create change. So too on becoming certified we have had access to a group of like-minded and interesting companies, which is both interesting and encouraging. The B Corp movement is exactly that, standing together to make business a force for good.
There are now 1,200 businesses in the UK that have been B Corp certified and we are hugely proud to be one. We are all determined to make a positive impact on the world. We at Steppes will be using B Corps month to shout about the topics that we feel strongly about and the behaviours that we all need to change. These include:
- The oceans, the lungs of our planet
- The scourge of single-use plastic
Last week it was reported in the media – the Guardian and BBC – that scientists have uncovered an unprecedented rise in plastic pollution: they calculated that more than 170 trillion plastic particles are afloat in the oceans.
They have called for a reduction in the production of plastics, warning that “clean-up is futile” if they continue to be pumped into the environment at the current rate.
We can continue to talk about recycling but it is to no avail unless we address the problem of plastic at source; there must be legislation to ideally stop, or at the very least severely limit, the production and sale of single-use plastics.
Whilst we can sometimes be overwhelmed by climate change and our inability to be able to make effective change, this is not the case with single-use plastics. It is time for us to make a stand. This is how you can help:
- Carry a re-usable water bottle with you
- The same too with a coffee cup
- Don’t use plastic bags
- Use a shampoo bar
- Use deposit return schemes
- Say no to plastic packaging
- Invest in companies such as Notpla
- Use your voice to create change
We need to use that voice, not least due to the inertia of our politicians: Holyrood and Westminster are heading for another showdown as the UK government prepares to block a second policy move by the Scottish government this year. UK government poised to block Scottish bottle recycling scheme.
Save our Oceans
We celebrate the signing of The High Seas Treaty earlier this month. The treaty aims to help place 30% of the seas into protected areas by 2030, to safeguard and recuperate marine nature. It is up to us to now ensure that politicians and world leaders stick to their word and put this into action.
Why is this so important? Most of the planet’s oxygen, as much as 80%, comes from the ocean. Marine organisms such as seaweed, phytoplankton and some bacteria photosynthesize, meaning that just like plants, they consume carbon dioxide, water and sunlight to produce oxygen.
Seagrass captures carbon up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests and, even though it only covers 0.2% of the seafloor, it absorbs 10% of the ocean’s carbon each year, making it an incredible tool in the fight against climate change. In the UK, up to 92% of our seagrass has disappeared in the last century. This is why at Steppes, we are supporting Seawilding a seagrass restoration project in Loch Craignish, Argyll.
The Blue Whale is the largest animal that has ever existed. Larger than any dinosaur. It is an animal that has a heart the size of a car and consumes up to four tonnes of food per day. In turn it defecates several tonnes of manure, which is heavily rich in nitrogen and iron. Phytoplankton graze on this ‘whale poop’. Whales are the farmers of the ocean – they literally cultivate crops of phytoplankton which in turn feeds the zooplankton which in turn feeds the fish.
Scientists estimate that at least 50% of the oxygen in our atmosphere has been produced by phytoplankton. At the same time, they are responsible for drawing down significant portions of the carbon dioxide from the air. There has been a 40% reduction in phytoplankton since 1950s due to reduction of sea mammals. If phytoplankton were to disappear, we would not survive. We are here because of phytoplankton. We don’t live on this planet with a dead ocean.