Sustainability: Expectations vs Reality

sustainability

Everywhere we look nowadays, we’re told to live more sustainable lives. High profile campaigners are driving forces behind sustainability movements continuously putting pressure on governments and businesses to drive change and introduce regulations to prevent the planet being exploited for its resources.

But what does it really mean to live a sustainable life? Is it just about using less plastic, driving less and eating less meat?

 

The ELeather Experiment: Making a Real Environmental Difference

 

Here at ELeather, we’re lucky enough to already be a collective group of passionate individuals working for a business equally as passionate about doing the right thing for the planet.

For us, Earth Day is an important date that celebrates a value that we live everyday, and have been from the start: sustainability. We’ve been making a product out of primarily waste material for almost 15 years now, with an incredibly environmentally efficient production process, that even has huge advantages to things like fuel consumption in-service for our customers. Our sustainable leather product is already silently helping critical industries like transportation, make real changes now.

But this year, we wanted to test and really see for ourselves, how much difference an individual person is able to make in going out of their way (literally) to minimise their impact on the planet, and compare this to our own contribution.

And so, from 1st April our Head of Sustainability, Lee Whitton has swapped his car for a pair of running shoes. Lee ran to, and from, work every working day until Earth Day – a distance of eight miles (13 km) each way, for a total of 240 miles (386km).

 

Even though he’s an avid runner even Lee underestimated what a gruelling task it was going to be. What kept him motivated, was ELeather’s commitment to sponsor two trees to be planted locally for every mile he’s run.

 

With all this effort, Lee has saved 70 kg of CO2 which is an equivalent of about three bin bags of waste recycled instead of landfilled. It’s also the amount of carbon one tree seedling absorbs whilst growing in 10 years.

An impressive result, indeed.

However, it takes just 2m2 of ELeather to save the same amount of emissions… That’s just about enough of our material to upholster the driver’s seat in Lee’s car.

To put it into more context, ELeather material is produced on a 50lm roll and each of those saves about 1,750kg of CO2. It would take 29 tree seedlings ten years to sequester the same amount of CO2.

What is the Takeaway From This?

What this exercise highlights is those ways we all try (businesses and consumers alike) to tackle climate change, including via personal commitments like running in place of driving, and reducing plastic use or eating less meat.

But the really significant changes can only happen when we, as consumers and businesses, really start paying attention to the goods we’re buying and using – looking at what they’re made of, how they’re made and what happens to them after we no longer use or want them.

Some businesses will want to wait for government to changes to regulations, and governments by their very nature tend to be quite slow to make changes. We know that as consumers, we have a much higher standard of expectation for the businesses we buy from.

Businesses like ours start in a great place to satisfy this demand for sustainable materials while many other businesses need to race to keep up. The demand for sustainability is only increasing across every market from FMCG, Fashion, Footwear to Transport and even services, and actually – we think that’s a good thing.

Next Steps: Keeping up the Good Work

I can’t imagine Lee continuing to run 16 miles every day. He’ll probably continue do it every now and maybe even enjoy it in the warmer, summer months!

He will also be able to proudly admit that almost 500 trees have been planted in the local area thanks to his effort.

But more importantly, Lee and the wider ELeather team, will continue their work spearheading ELeather’s effort to help our customers reduce their own environmental footprint in a meaningful way.

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