Donald Trump has sparked much criticism since he’s been elected. He pulled the United States out of the Paris Agreement, and relinquished funding for many social organizations, as though he was afraid of being labeled a democrat or something for partaking in these movements. While on a macro level, this seems dire for the country’s environmental and progressive intentions, there may be some good to look forward to.
Inspiring the Initiative
Before governments became omnipotent and autocratic in decision-making and fund distributing, the people lead by example. The general population practiced what they preached, holding fundraisers and bake sales of their own accord to raise money for causes they value and believed in. Gradually this practice has receded into a sad, wilting effort reserved for times when people commercially feel more generous or inclined to volunteering and giving; Thanksgiving and Christmas. Seeing that the President can at least be relied on to withdraw from environmental responsibilities and funding groups that need it most, companies and business owners are taking initiative to produce their own change.
As an example, Ravi DeRossi of New York expanded his collection of culinary abodes in April with the addition of Coup—a bar whose proceeds are contributed to organizations in need of funding, whether they have been defunded by the government, at risk of being defunded, or were never supported to begin with. Patrons receive a token when purchasing a drink, with which they can select a cause to financially aid.
Coup opened after the election to further their political views, but Alabama Chanin opened over 10 years ago in 2006. They proudly manufacture and create quality products in the United States using sustainable, organic, and local labour and materials. Paying homage to the creator’s hometown, AC owns their manufacture building in Florence, Alabama named Building 14. In addition to creating and producing their own pieces, they offer services to other companies looking to integrate responsible, sustainable, and local production into their business.
Smaller businesses such as Coup and Alabama Chanin have a more flexible grip on the way they conduct business and are more adaptive to changing environments. Large corporations such as H&M and Under Armour are tied down in myriad contracts with the scrutiny of various stakeholders looming over financial reports and returns, giving them less flexibility and requiring longer adjustment times.
H&M (of whom we simply cannot get enough of,) declared recently that 96% of their electricity usage comes from renewable sources, and they are aiming to have all of its cotton from sustainable sources within the next three years. While not directly impacting the US climate responsibilities, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see brands such as H&M dial back on packaging waste and seeking solutions with reduced carbon-footprints while operating in the US.
Athletic mega brand Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank has voiced displeasure about the disconnect between the United States and the Paris Agreement and further says “climate change is real and must be taken seriously by our business community, our customers, and our elected officials.” That’s fantastic and acknowledgement is the first step towards change… However talk is cheap, and we’re waiting for companies with influence such as H&M and UA to walk the walk.