Glove Intelligent Assistant
From November 6th to the 18th, world leaders, climate change activists, business leaders, and non profit organizations arrived in Egypt for the COP27 Climate Summit (The 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). To give some background, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was founded in 1994 when 198 countries came together to create a joint taskforce to address and prevent dangerous human interference on the world’s climate system. Previous achievements include the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, which aim to reduce carbon emissions contributing to increased global warming temperatures. The convention aims to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The biggest contribution is the introduction of zero carbon driven markets, thus leading to a larger interest in sustainable products and less carbon emission manufacturing processes.
Some of the current issues being brought up include prior issues discussed at the COP26 conference last year. Such as concerns about deforestation rates, global temperatures getting to inhospitable levels, and the rising consequences of adapting to climate change versus mitigating. One of the larger and more current issues is that private sustainable finance (Vanguard, BlackRock, other large investment firms) is failing to follow through with zero carbon goals. They are not influencing the consumer economy to adapt towards sustainable practices and even more often encourage environmentally harmful trends. The World Climate Research Programme implores, “The financial sector must shake off endemic greenwashing.” Greenwashing is a topic that this blog has brought up previously; a term used to describe a common marketing tactic to mislead consumers into thinking a product is more sustainable than it actually is. In the case of the private financial sector, it means these private investment firms are profiting from being labeled as sustainable portfolios yet fail to provide factual reports that verify the sustainability of their investments. Another concern brought up at COP27 was waste management. The UN reports that the waste sector contributes 10% of greenhouse gas emissions globally. They advise reducing the generation of waste and instead having environmentally sound waste management protocols in place. This means further reducing open dump landfills globally and prioritizing federally regulated waste disposal facilities. There is a need to move towards zero waste but without financial incentives, progress stagnates.
While COP27 is trying to address these concerns on a global scale, these are also issues that must be supported at the local and domestic level in order for there to be a lasting impact in preventing more serious consequences of climate change. SW has these concerns at the forefront of our sustainable business practices. With regards to current preservation attempts to combat deforestation, SW is Forest Stewardship Council certified and only sources raw materials from responsibly managed forests. This certification guarantees the raw materials are sourced from forests that provide environmental, social, and economic benefits.
Furthermore, while SW is not part of a private financial institution, we have always been thoughtful about our role in the consumer economy. While we do not have the commercial influence such as the likes of larger investment firms, that is not to stop us from acting on our agency as an individual business to do our part in protecting the environment. Change can start from both the top and bottom of a system. SW is adamant about making sustainable business practices the forefront of our brand – promoting both sustainable manufacturing and pushing sustainable products to the consumer market.
Lastly, about waste management, SW’s EcoTek technology actively combats against waste generation. EcoTek allows our disposable nitrile gloves the ability to degrade by 92.6% within 2.5 years. The rest will eventually become organic matter. While recycling in general is good, recycling disposable gloves in particular is still a questionable route because they turn it into microplastics – along with not being cost effective. Thus, the only sustainable option is to produce a biodegradable product that can biodegrade in commercial landfills. Commercial landfills are different from the common association of landfills. Most people think of landfills akin to ‘open dumping’, however most commercial landfills are actually federally regulated anaerobic environments. Due to these conditions, our EcoTek gloves are not meant to be treated like compostable products or biodegradable in aerobic (oxygenated) environments – meaning you cannot expect them to biodegrade by burying them in topsoil or compost. Anaerobic landfills are actually more environmentally sustainable as well; biodegradation occurs without oxygen and is carefully controlled to produce landfill gas. Landfill gas can then be captured to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and used for renewable energy projects. It may not be a perfect solution but it is a commitment to reduce more waste as disposable gloves are a daily necessity.
Yet, the fact that SW’s goals align with COP27’s goals exhibits our company’s awareness of current imperatives many environmental conservationist leaders are advocating for.