Earth Day is celebrating its 53rd birthday on Saturday, April 22, 2023. Earth Day is now so established it has its own URL and is celebrated in nearly 200 countries by billions of people. But celebrating is one thing. Doing is what’s needed. We are one earth, one atmosphere, one planet calling for all hands on deck to protect our world.
Calling for all hands on deck means holding every entity accountable. In a world that’s counting greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions, that’s a call to become accountable for what some might term “externalities.” For decades, if not centuries, quick profits have been turned at the expense of the environment and the health of workers. As some nations put stringent environmental and worker protection legislation in place, some organizations have taken their dirty and dangerous practices to venues without such protections. The profit-seekers externalize the costs to the environment and to human health, shifting the onus elsewhere. But in a world where everyone is paying attention, these externalities are coming into focus and everyone is being held accountable.
The road to accountability in the GhG emissions arena is through quantifying the emissions attributable to a given entity. Emissions are categorized as Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 and around the globe, countries are mandating emissions reporting. The larger the entity, the greater the likelihood that they are being asked or required to report on their GhG emissions, either by the governments where they operate or by critical stakeholders, including, in some cases, shareholders.
Accounting for Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions has become table stakes. That is, as these emissions are under the control of the core entity, the widely-accepted expectation is that an entity will anti-up to the global playing field by at least accounting for the emissions directly in their control. Where the world’s focus is turning is toward Scope 3 emissions, that is, those emissions that are generated by the creation and delivery of goods and services on behalf of the original entity. Scope 3 emissions account for externalized emissions and accounting for Scope 3 is the current call to action for those entities seeking to stem the tide of climate change.
One concrete way to reduce emissions is to extend the life of products that have already been manufactured. Keeping them in use, perhaps in the hands of a new owner, can obviate the need to manufacture new, and avoid the expenditure of energy, the sourcing of new materials, and all the emissions attributable to the new manufacture. In the case of electronic devices and components, that’s exactly what CNE Direct does. We extend the life and avoid emissions.
As we join the world in the rallying cry for all hands on deck, let’s all make this Earth Day the kickoff of a year of more sustainable choices.
Be sure to check out my continuing blog series as I discuss all things related to sustainable electronics.
Carol Baroudi has been focused on sustainable electronics for more than 15 years and is recognized for her prominent work as lead author for Green IT for Dummies. Carol is a contributing guest blogger for CNE Direct and consulting to support new sustainability initiatives.