Sarah Perreard gives a powerful TEDx talk that is deeply aligned with what I set out to tackle when I started Provenance. Sharing why transparency is the key to ending climate change, she shows how we all can start to create a world where capitalism is a force for good.
We have the solutions to climate change
Too many people feel a sense of guilt and apathy when looking at the state of our planet. Yet, it is said that all solutions to reverse global warming already exist. How can we use our power as shoppers and citizens to ensure those solutions are adopted and a low-impact lifestyle becomes mainstream? And what is the one thing we should demand, one that will trigger a domino effect at all levels of manufacturing, agriculture and logistics?
We have a limited view on whether our financial power is supporting a sustainable future or not
Although the solutions are here, it’s hard to act to support them as a citizen or often as a business. As a citizen, it’s hard to back the solutions and approaches with your votes (political or financial). You cannot easily see the things your financial ‘votes’ support.
“When it comes to calculating the real environmental impact of anything the answer is often, it depends. There's no straight conclusion that can be drawn from any products we consume because it depends on the way it's been produced, transported, stored, transformed or packaged.” – Sarah Perreard
At Provenance, our platform is a way for businesses to address this. We’ve made it easier to open information about their supply chains and the impact behind products in a consistent, accessible, trustworthy format for citizens to understand.
Transparency is the essential first step
“I'm the first one to say that there is no silver bullet, but there can be a first domino that pushes all the other ones and transparency is that first domino. Transparency will turn our consumer power into a consumer superpower because, when we are armed with transparency, our purchases will have a ripple effect in the industry. – Sarah Perreard
We agree, some businesses have done great work to enable sustainability assessments and initiatives. However, transparency is the crucial part so all of us can work together to enable these actions to gain support and to grow.
This has become the focus of which we’ve directed Provenance. We exist to enable businesses to respond to the need for public transparency.
Next comes integrity
Sarah rightly goes on to say that from transparency, “ A new element of competitiveness will emerge and make companies change the very products they are designing for us, way beyond the green marketing trend that is too often just a positioning exercise.”
At the moment, many brands are jumping on the bandwagon to lead with purpose and ensure they are communicating more about the impact of their business and products.
However, brands that understand this as the ‘new normal’ for brand communications know that a new mission statement, giving a bit of charity and one spotlight water-saving incentive is not going to cut it in the long term. They also know that if you are doing something right and your competitor is greenwashing, then the next frontier must be integrity.