World Environment Day 2020 Marks a 'Time for Nature' and to Promote Biodiversity
June 25, 2020
On Friday, June 5, 2020, OSI celebrated World Environment Day. It was marked around the world to bring attention to this year’s theme of ‘Biodiversity - Time for Nature’ and the threats facing our planet's ecosystem. Biodiversity is the variability of living things that make up life on Earth. Without biodiversity, the health of the planet is at stake. OSI's involvement in every part of the supply chain gives us opportunities to reduce impacts on biodiversity, which is good for the planet, our partners and our business.
World Environment Day was officially designated by the United Nations in 1927. Approximately 150 countries worldwide have participated in the event each year to organize actions against the destruction of nature and to raise environmental awareness. This year’s theme is especially important for people and businesses to consider. According to World Wildlife Fund Germany, besides the climate crisis, the extinction of species is the biggest threat worldwide. In fact, one million species could become extinct in the next few decades.
Frighteningly, 30,000 of 112,000 species on Earth are endangered with 150 species disappearing from our planet every day. This extinction is progressing almost 1,000 times faster than the emergence of new species.
CONTRIBUTING FACTORS TO THE LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY
The loss of biodiversity in the world is caused by a number of factors. At OSI, we are looking at our operations to see where we can make improvements to limit our impact on biodiversity and be good stewards of the environment.
Pollution, climate change, the overexploitation of plants and animals, and land use change are all contributing factors to the loss of biodiversity that exist in our industry. While we have made progress on reducing our impact in these areas, we know there is still more work to do.
PROMOTING BIODIVERSITY IS GOOD BUSINESS
Businesses can play a powerful role in promoting biodiversity and reducing their environmental impact. The United Nations World Environment Day recommends businesses use sustainable practices in the supply chain and financing, promote animal welfare and save energy and water
Promoting biodiversity is not just important for the planet and saving our endangered species, it is also important for OSI’s operations and the health of the land and animals that are a part of our network. For instance, OSI’s Pickstock Telford beef processing facility in England is using anaerobic digestion to generate power so it can run on 100 percent renewable energy. OSI’s facility in Riverside, California was recently nominated for Food Processing’s Green Plant of the Year Award and has been recognized several times for its efficiency and green operations.
Believing that peer-to-peer sharing is the key to sustainability in our industry, OSI is involved in industry roundtables around the world to promote the sharing of best practices, so we can learn from each other and work together to reduce our environmental impact.
OSI’s Sustainability 365 Farmer Recognition Program recognizes farmers in our supply chain that are putting sustainability at the forefront of their operations. The Carr’s, who have been recognized in this program, have made biodiversity a pillar of their sustainability efforts. They have seen the positive impacts that increasing the biodiversity of their plant and animal life on their farm has had on the health of their land and the animals they raise, as well as the longevity and viability of their business.
HOW OSI CELEBRATED WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY IN 2020
For the last nine years, OSI Spain has actively participated in World Environment Day. This year, they worked to commemorate the day and raise employee awareness through several initiatives.
OSI Spain ran a painting competition and asked employees to have their children draw images that represent biodiversity and how it can be destroyed. In the cafeterias, they put an image of two worlds: one where biodiversity is flourishing and the other where biodiversity is destroyed.
They ran a trivia competition with questions and answers focused on biodiversity, providing
workers with the opportunity to demonstrate their biodiversity
knowledge in different topics. They also ran a photo contest, hung posters, and handed out leaflets with educational information about biodiversity.
LOOKING IN THE MIRROR
At OSI, we know that while we have made tremendous progress in being better stewards of our environment, there are still areas throughout our business that we can improve. That is why we believe it is important to not only participate in World Environment Day this and every year, but to also talk about these issues externally, so we can show our industry that our sustainability goals are critical to everything we do at our company.
It is not always easy to talk about the areas where we have not made as much progress as we would have liked by now, but it is necessary so we can hold ourselves and our partners accountable. With this accountability and a constant drive to improve, we are working to ensure that World Environment Day activities do not happen only once a year, but are a set of continuous steps towards being industry leaders in protecting our planet.