2022 in review: only the upsides

Why? Because negative thinking really doesn’t help the situation we’ve got our beautiful planet into. Indeed, research and statistics suggest that a pessimistic attitude is not only out of step with objective measures of progress in the world, it’s not particularly good for your health either.

When confronted with the many sustainability quandaries we face, it’s far more productive to focus on the abundance of wise decisions we can make. Fortunately, national and global governing bodies have made plenty of good choices over the last year on climate change and other environmental threats. And here at Grain we remain stubbornly optimistic and are doing what we can to help organisations create a better future.

So what were some of those good choices in 2022?

Historic agreement on plastics

One standout was the announcement in March by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) of the first ever multilateral treaty on plastic pollution.The finer details will be worked out over a two-year period, but the legally binding agreement makes a start at reckoning with the 400 million tonnes of plastic now produced annually, a figure predicted to double by 2040. At Grain our sustainability communications work with Plastics Europe during the year was very much in line with UNEP goals to accelerate sustainable solutions in the plastics market, address the full lifecycle of plastic products, and make circularity the norm.

Finland accelerates to net zero

In May Finland passed into law a target to become carbon net zero by 2035. This will make it the first European country to reach net zero, far ahead of the overall EU target of net zero by 2050. The Finish government plans to go even further by becoming carbon net negative by 2040. International leadership from this Nordic country is welcome news to our client Rupert Resources as they move forward with mineral exploration activities at the Ikkari Discovery in Finnish Lapland. Their commitments to responsible mining are only reinforced by this forward-thinking ambition and legislation on the part of the national government. It’s been our pleasure at Grain to help Rupert Resources on their way, particularly with their inaugural sustainability report.

New EU-wide rules on packaging

In November the European Commission formally proposed new rules for member states to tackle packaging waste that aim to increase recycled content in packaging, reduce overpackaging, and improve labelling to support post-consumer recycling. This year we helped Priory Direct, a fellow 1% for the Planet member, in their mission to support the ecommerce space with planet-friendly packaging and demonstrate their commitment in one of the clearest ways possible: B Corp certification.

Grain in 2022 and beyond

We became a B Corp ourselves in January 2022, an achievement we’re proud of and very pleased to share. It commits us to a different way of doing business that puts sustainability at the heart of our decision-making. As the year progressed we also made a welcome return to more sociable post-pandemic ways of working, and got back to in-person teamwork at least one day per month. A side benefit of this change was getting to spend quality time with the younger members of Grain, our Kickstarter Izzy, interns Roísín, Kenneth, and Disha, and our junior consultant, Sophie, who joined us in September.

As well as developing for the future with our younger hires, we also doubled the number of client engagements we took on, and 50% of our clients asked us to do further work for them — a pretty impressive endorsement of our range of sustainability consulting services. It’s certainly been an exciting and fulfilling year for us here at Grain. We can’t wait to see what 2023 brings!

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