Now is the Time to Invest in Our Planet

April 22, 2023

Uncovering a Glimmer of Hope

Link arms. Act. Invest in our planet. These are powerful messages as the world comes together to protect and save our planet.

Not one to shy away from sharing my opinion regarding the environment, Earth Day provides an opportunity to reflect on -- and look forward to -- needed change. While the climate continues to worsen, taking a toll on people, communities, and economies worldwide, this is the first year in many where I find a glimmer of hope. Global businesses, governments, and NGOs have begun to move the climate discussion from the boardroom to the field, transforming theoretical solutions into measurable action. The fact is the technology to effect change exists. It is time to be bold, #InvestInOurPlanet, and act.

We must choose how to make a difference. When multiplied, the ‘big’ and the ‘little’ things inch us closer to dramatically reducing waste and reaching net zero.

The Big Things

Retailers like Walmart are making it more affordable for consumers to purchase climate-friendly, sustainable products – removing cost from the equation. At the same time, Cargill rewards farmers investing in sustainable, climate-friendly practices. When companies with the scale and reach of Walmart and Cargill #InvestInOurPlanet it makes a big difference.

SC Johnson and Reckitt are committed to educating consumers on the availability, ease, and affordability of refillable and reusable packaging, beginning with recognized household brands like Windex, Scrubbing Bubbles, and Lysol. Brands can now communicate directly with consumers through their products to educate and engage consumers in sustainability initiatives.

And in the UK, Unilever and Procter & Gamble (P&G) are among 15 organizations collaborating on Flue2Chem to address net-zero targets to convert industrial waste into sustainable materials for consumer products. Flue2Chem aims to cut the UK’s 15-20 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually to help the country hit its net-zero targets by 2050. The power of collaboration is being demonstrated locally and globally.

Also, in Europe, the HolyGrail 2.0 project announced the results from European trials that showed that digital watermarking technology has the power to transform recycling. The effectiveness of Digimarc Recycle has also been validated in Canada by the Circular Plastics Taskforce (CPT).

The results of these tests are laying the groundwork for the broader rollout of this technology worldwide. In Canada, the initial focus is on tackling the poorly recycled and untapped potential of flexible plastics. Across the Atlantic, France has been identified as the first European market to advance the adoption of Digimarc Recycle to improve large-scale plastics recycling.

Progress Toward Net Zero

It is important to note that next-generation recycling isn't just about reducing plastic waste; it is about reducing carbon emissions in a significant and cost-effective way. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, higher quality plastics recycling can have a profound impact on reducing carbon emissions, and importantly do it in a “negative cost” (i.e., profitable!) way. You can read more in my blog: Now is the Time for Systemic Improvement in Plastic Recycling

The fact is circularity cannot be advanced credibly without considering a solution’s total impact on the climate. Digimarc engaged an external Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) expert, Sustainable Solutions Corp. (SSC), to challenge and validate a carbon footprint model of Digimarc Recycle. Proven to improve the quantity and quality of recyclate, it is also vital that any impacts incurred in other stages of its lifecycle are known.  I'm pleased to say phase one results of the LCA have been positive, and we are looking forward to launching the next phase of the assessment in collaboration with strategic partners. Progress toward net zero is a top priority for Digimarc.

The Little Things

This is where you, me, our families, and our communities can make a difference by reducing our carbon footprint. We can commit to utilizing greener transportation when feasible (carpooling, bikes, and public transportation), organize neighborhoods to pick up trash, switch to energy-efficient appliances, or plant a tree commemorating Earth Day. We can also recognize and support the companies that are truly making a difference, and in so doing encourage others to join the effort. Together we can effect change. As with the ‘big’ things, the ‘little’ things require commitment, collaboration, and consistent action.

Going back to my comment about the need to move the conversation from the boardroom to action in the field -- Digimarc is grateful to have been given a seat at the table and is now excited to be a part of the solution. Giving ‘everyone’ a seat at the table is critical to effecting change. How can we expect change without sharing our ideas and letting our voices be heard? Global collaboration is imperative.

In 2023 and beyond, we must continue to collaborate, act boldly, innovate broadly, and put our ideas into action around the globe. Protecting our planet requires investment now – the big and little things. Digimarc is committed to continued investment in R&D and the delivery of innovative solutions to help resolve the global plastic crisis. I invite you to join us on this mission, linking arms to protect our planet.

#earthday2023 #recycling #InvestInOurPlanet #collaboration

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