Do you remember what happened on the 29th of March? Does Earth Hour ring a bell? The earth hour is an event organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). During that day people may show their awareness and commitment towards this planet and towards the climate change by shutting down their unnecessary lights for one hour. Alone in the capital region in Finland more than 200 companies took part to this event and shut down their lights. (WWF) Also here in Germany dark windows in private households were easy to spot during that hour. Yesterday we all celebrated the earth day that is a day full of events all around the world to demonstrate support for environmental protection. But is one hour or even a full day enough for this planet?
Climate change has been a hot and sexy topic already several years. I think I represent already a generation that has lived almost their whole life acknowledging the dangers of climate change. But why is it still so hard to act accordingly?
Climate change and environmental pollution in general is a textbook example of a market failure. It means that the markets are not able to allocate resources efficiently enough or efficiently at all. The whole idea of markets is to allocate scare resources so that the maximal social welfare is generated and in this case the markets fail to do so. Where markets fail also externalities are seen. Externality means that if I make a choice that affects other people, all the costs associated with that choice are not accounted in the market price of that choice. So if I pollute today the negative effects that come with it affect not only me but also other people and the costs that are related to that pollution will occur in the future, not at the point of pollution. Those costs will also be paid by other people, not only by me.
So free-riding is extremely easy and appealing when it comes to environmental protection. Sadly the result of this free-riding can be seen today in China where people start to be really worried about the health of themselves and especially about the health their children. So as usual, the costs of pollution will be paid by future generations.
The view from my hotel room in Shanghai
As said, climate change has been already a hot topic for at least a decade but just in recent years the consumers have started to pay attention and base their purchase decisions to the social responsibility actions of a company. Here we as a company are very well positioned with our main raw material. But more innovations and visibility for our customers and consumers are always needed. Did you know that the production of a ton of plastic generates approximately 6 000 kg's of CO2? And that the average over all Stora Ensos pulp, paper and board products is only 361 kg CO2 /tonne of product? So 16 times less than with plastic! So imagine what would happen to the carbon footprint of a product in a packaging produced by natural fibre instead of plastic?
Keep on doing good for the people and the planet!