Products of Change


Fri 24 Mar 2023 | by Rob Hutchins

Friday Thoughts | Talk is cheap but action means business

I fully believe that business is now the most powerful force on Earth when it comes to helping save our planet. Historically it has been business that has helped drive the positive changes we have seen across society, and the role it has yet left to play cannot be understated. This past week’s activities have only gone to highlight this further. It was a particularly Monday kind of Monday when thing got kicked off with the startling news from the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that we will ‘overshoot’ our current climate targets if we don’t increase our action now. Swift and drastic action now is our last hope of keeping global warming below the 1.5ºC pre-industrial levels target and averting an irrevocable climate catastrophe. In short, things are serious. Let’s frame it like this: The decisions we make around the world over the next seven years (yes, just seven years until 2030) will echo down the centuries. Will we be bold enough to shoulder the responsibility and take the right course of action now? We simply have to be. The good news is business is beginning to take action. We were invited this week to attend Kids Industries’ fascinating presentation on its major new piece of research that it has called the Kids Industries Global Family Survey. A survey of over 5,000 families from across 10 countries spanning six continents, this really is an agenda-setting bit of insight to take with us into the coming seven crucial years of action. Our headline from the day’s proceedings was that the environment and climate change is now the number one concern among UK children. And why wouldn’t it be? This is the planet we are leaving them to inherit. Despite this, the study revealed 67% of UK children remain positive about their future, and one fifth of them want to change the world for the better. Which is good news, since they will be the ones taking the reins on this action in only a few years’ time. But read between the lines here a little bit and these findings also reveal that a theoretical 33% of UK children do not feel confident of a positive future. Quite frankly, that’s appalling. The Smiley Charity Film awards did what it does best this week, punching us ‘right in the feels’ and highlighting the wonderful, wonderful work being done by the “third sector” – the charity sector – while spotlighting the amazing talent behind some of the most heart-string-tugging campaigns across the UK and internationally. Sustainable development sits at the heart of so many of these charities, and each of them find alignment with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, whether they are fighting for equitable education around the world, peace, justice, and refuge from persecution, or clean water for all communities, everywhere. And so, it’s a massive thank you to our Products of Change Ambassadors, Kids Industries co-founder Gary Pope (Ambassador for Children) and Tracey Richardson from Louis Kennedy (Ambassador for Partnerships) who once again found herself on the judging panel for the Smiley Charity Film Awards, for continuing to drive the climate conversation within your respective fields in the industry. By now, it was only Tuesday. The same day that Products of Change was invited to the House of Commons to join a debate around the upcoming digital product passport regulation and explore how industry will navigate this mammoth new piece of legislation when it lands. We found ourselves there as a guest of Buyerdock, a tech platform working closely with GS1 (a global producer of barcodes) to look at how the correct information is stores and fed back to government when the new regulation sets in. This information will include material, environmental impact, recycling, and brand information to name just a few elements it will incorporate. Now, we know there are going to be a few sore heads up north this week, having witnessed the licensing industry head on up to Manchester for this year’s Northern Quiz. It’s the first event of the year for the industry charity The Light Fund and we’re sure everyone was suitable excitable. We close this week with an update from the European Commission on its latest Directive for Green Claims, a newly reinforced clamp down on the abundance on non-verifiable green claims and means of protecting shoppers from greenwashing. Key takeaways from the proposal include all climate claims needing proof, a crack-down on the more than 230 – often misleading - ‘green labels’ proliferating the European market, and an official stance on the use of PET bottles for clothing. Across the pond, and global leaders and businesses have been gathering in New York this week to meet at the UNHQ to take part in World Water Week activities. The UK’s very own Wastebuster was on hand to deliver its educational discussion on waste and we can’t wait to update you all on that front next week. March then, has been a month of environmental conversation, all of which will lead us nicely into Earth Day next month. Earth has announced the return of the Great Global Cleanup this year, so let us know what you’ve got planned for Earth Day this April by dropping Rob a line at Ending the week with a warm welcome, we have seen the Royal Museums Greenwich join the Products of Change community. We look forward to chatting more in-depth with the team in the coming weeks, too. Before we go, there’s a jam-packed events calendar on the Products of Change platform for you all to check out. You can access that here and register to attend any one of these upcoming meetings via the Products of Change platform.