As parts of the world continue to struggle with growing COVID-19 infections, we are about to honor the second Earth Day clouded by a global pandemic. Last year at this time, we had 2 million cases and this year the number will approach 200 million. While our highest priority is without a doubt fighting the pandemic, Earth Day reminds us that the planet is a single, inter-connected ecosystem. As a result, many catastrophes increasingly will be both global and influenced by the environment.
The theme of Earth Day this year is to Restore Our Earth and world leaders are asking that organizations create a new normal as some countries start to emerge from the pandemic. Earth Day 2021 will highlight emerging technologies and innovations that can help restore ecosystems through climate change mitigation, reforestation, regenerative agriculture, and environmental justice.
Like so many organizations, the past year has been challenging for Diversey. The pandemic highlighted the importance of our mission, ‘Caring. Protecting. Always.’. Demand for sanitizers and disinfectants, supply chain disruptions, and the need for new cleaning protocols for our customers shifted priorities and increased our sense of urgency. While Diversey’s sustainability strategy also covers environmental stewardship and sustainable innovations, lately our social responsibility pillar has been the focus as we do our part to end the pandemic.
The social, environmental, and economic balance of sustainability was nicely summarized when Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day.
"Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures." Gaylord Nelson, April 22, 1970
Our industry has a role in achieving this vision. As we start to emerge from the pandemic, we will have the opportunity to re-think many of the systems and processes around the world that COVID-19 derailed. We will be helping bring hotels, restaurants, stores, airports, and offices back online with disinfection and hygiene products and procedures. Society needs to re-open safely and with confidence that public spaces are clean and hygienic. The benefits of getting children back in school and lowering unemployment are clear. We can deliver cleanliness and hygiene, but we don’t have to sacrifice environmental responsibility while meeting those requirements and assisting in the recovery.
Diversey’s plant-based product range, SURE® is an example of a restorative mindset in cleaning product innovation. The products are a complete range of 100% biodegradable detergents and disinfectants/sanitizers for everyday cleaning and hygiene needs for kitchens, facilities, and personal care. SURE® products contain plant-based ingredients that are typically derived from by-products of the agro-food industry, originating from sugar beet, maize, straw and coconut instead of non-renewable petrochemicals. Recently, the Cradle-to-Cradle Products Innovation Institute announced that GOLD certificates have been issued for Diversey’s SURE® products.
Diversey’s accelerated hydrogen peroxide (AHP) technology is another great example of innovative technology with environmental sustainability benefits. AHP® products, such as Oxivir®, protect people from pathogens such as COVID-19 without exposing them to more harmful disinfecting chemicals, including bleach. AHP products have an excellent safety profile and unlike traditional disinfectants which can leave behind residue, AHP breaks down to oxygen and water.
Earth Day has always been a time for action and inspiration as we work together to find solutions to solve global environmental challenges. The global pandemic is causing the cancelation of meetings, gatherings, and events; but that doesn’t mean we can’t prepare for economic recovery. It’s essential that we recognize that we are all in this together. Just as the world had to take action to slow the spread of COVID-19, we all will need to recognize our role in fighting issues like climate change, plastic pollution, and water scarcity. As we begin to recover from the pandemic, let’s work together to ensure we do so responsibly.
Today, Diversey reaffirms our commitment to responsible use, customer partnerships, and sustainable innovations.
To download our sustainability report and learn more about Diversey’s commitments to social and environmental stewardship go to our sustainability page.