Why Consumers Can Let Themselves Off the Hook for their Carbon Footprint
And where they can direct their attention instead
For two decades the term “carbon footprint” has been part of our cultural lexicon surrounding environmental issues. Most of us probably can’t even remember where we first heard it. That could be because it was a term created by Ogilvy & Mather—a famous ad agency—who had been hired by oil giant BP in 2000. Whaaaat? Yup!
A brief context of the carbon footprint
Coining this term was part of how Ogilvy marketed the CO2 levels of a heating planet as a problem that consumers were expected to tackle, rather than the companies drilling deep into the earth. In 2004, BP introduced the “carbon footprint calculator” to further shift responsibility onto consumers. Then they had a massive deadly oil spill in 2010, which certainly puts forgetting our travel mug in perspective!
While the term carbon footprint is marketing from a fossil fuel company, the earth is still warming, and we can’t negate the very real climate issues plaguing our planet. We can, however, refocus our attention to other priorities which we can have a tangible impact on.
Each year food that could feed 3 billion people goes to waste or is lost—168 million tonnes of that is from North America. To add insult to injury, half the produce in the US is thrown away annually because it’s deemed too ugly to be sold. Yikes!
It hits home for us that over 40% of food in Vancouver is wasted, while 1 in 9 go hungry. This is why we strive to educate the Fulfill Shoppe community on the circular economy and how simple it can be to reduce food waste. Shifting our perceptions and taking small actions will push us closer to a sustainable healthy food supply at home and across the globe.
Remember how BP paid marketers to work their magic in 2000? Well, they weren’t the first corporation to do so. In 1971 soft drink companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi deployed advertising campaigns about littering to shift the environmental burden of their product onto consumers. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that the world production of plastic in 1950 was 2 million tons per year and ballooned to 419 million tons by 2015. So no, it’s not your imagination: we’re kinda drowning in plastic.
It’s hard not to feel that way when consumer packaging, toys, food containers and everything we seem to touch is plastic. Though as Vancouverites, we’re lucky the city has taken this issue seriously by banning plastic bags and implementing a disposable cup fee in 2022.
That wasn’t quiiiite enough for us, so we launched an attack on single use plastics. So far (thanks to your stellar help!) Fulfill Shoppe has saved over 22,000+ single use plastics and over 15,000+ plastic bottles from entering our local community. Our jar & bag program and refillable, reusable or compostable packaging is living proof that more plastic isn’t necessary for Vancouverites to enjoy fresh, local groceries and goodies at home.
Many of us only think of air pollution when the smog from wildfires clouds the sky in the summer, but the air we breathe deserves our attention all year round. Even if it’s invisible, air pollution can cause substantial short and long term health problems and wreak environmental havok. When severe enough, air pollution can even kill people. The World Health Organization estimates between 4-7 million people die annually from air pollution.
We strive to set a community example and do our part by delivering & picking up orders in the Fulfill Shoppe zero emissions van. Wave if you see us zipping around town! For those interested in carsharing (or shedding), our friends at Modo have a promo for Fulfill Shoppe customers.
A breath of fresh air
Since 2019 Vancouver’s air quality has been improving—even against the backdrop of a growing city and economy. Bolstered by this encouraging news, the city is taking additional steps to address residential wood burning, traffic emissions and more, over the next five years. We love to see it!
Breathe easier with Fulfill Shoppe’s zero emissions pickup & delivery and no waste packaging.
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