The SustainOrganicTM era: in order to succeed in the global ecological transition
Opinion piece by Claire Viano, General Manager Melvita, France-Benelux on the occasion of World Bee Day
World Bee Day, which is celebrated on 20 May under the aegis of the United Nations, is a timely reminder of the power and vulnerability of the synergistic relationship between humans and nature - dependent all on the survival of pollinators, the fragile pillars of nature’s life-cycles. The bee, as countless other species, is threatened by damaged ecosystems, the use of pesticides and human activity in the widest sense. The next Biodiversity Day, on May 22nd, stands as a flag bearer for this worldwide emergency: the erosion of the diversity of living things is accelerating at a dramatic rate - one million species, an unprecedented number, are now at risk of extinction. At the same time, the pandemic underlines the interdependence of our natural and human ecosystems.
Think and action coalitions multiplicate, reporting on the situation and accelerating the pace of solutions. As one example, at the end of March, the Week of Pesticide Alternatives encouraged the sharing of best practices in the search for alternatives to synthetic pesticides. The next COP26, a highly anticipated event in Glasgow next November, aims to realign international positions on the reduction of carbon emissions.
The pace of this agenda delivers several learnings. Firstly, faced with the magnitude of the challenge, hope is still possible: the tightening of Planetary Limits has stimulated not only an awakening of consciousness, but also a collaborative, action-orientated reflex. States, collectives, companies, multilateral organisations, association, citizens, consumers - all feel the need to participate, and that it falls to each and every one of us to play a part.
These calendar dates remind us also of the need to accelerate and scale-up the responsible transformation of the way we live, produce and consume. Businesses know that they have a role to play - their clients and their teams, all looking for meaning, remind them on a daily basis. Whether purpose-native, born from a desire for impact, or seeking to pivot old models, there are many who have taken on this responsibility. Neutralising the negative impact of an activity is a first step, necessary but alone insufficient: we are already at the next stage - seeking the positive impact of companies, their effective contribution to this, more sustainable, and more inclusive world.
Our path to improvement must be continuous - anticipating future challenges, and introducing sustainability in all levels of the business value chain. The organic example is illustrative of this type of innovation. Organic certification, of which Melvita was pioneering in the cosmetics sector, is a guarantee of quality, transparency and confidence that is powerful. However, it does not disclose everything about the social and environmental impact of a product.
In order to encourage consumption and habits that are ever more responsible, we need to collectively go beyond organic. The time has come for an approach that is SustainOrganicTM, one which combines organic certification with other markers of sustainability - local production, transparency and traceability, a fair approach to producers and partners, non-profit engagements ... From the beginning, with our communities, we have been cultivating this approach at Melvita, and we are committed to developing it further, with RegenerativeOrganicTM care. The trajectory is ambitious: beyond a positive impact, it is now a question of providing a significant contribution to the restoration of natural and human ecosystems.
The dizzying degradation of our biodiversity reminds us that the magnitude of the challenge necessitates commitment and humility in equal measure. Aligning the business models of companies with a need for sustainability and regeneration is a long journey: the main thing is to commit. We are all part of the success of the ecological transition: beyond a technical or sectoral approach, organic is well and truly a global way of life, which belongs to us all, to embrace where possible, daily.
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