Earth Day 2023: What does it mean to “Invest In Our Planet”?

  • Posted: 21 Apr 2023

Hear our thoughts on this year’s theme as we consider Thrive’s role in tackling the climate emergency and the wider impact of building a sustainable future.

Both a celebration of our planet and a call to action, Earth Day happens on 22nd April every year to raise awareness of the climate emergency and the importance of us all taking action to build a sustainable future. Events will be held in countries across the world from community clean-ups and teach-ins to fundraises and dance parties! 

The theme for this year’s Earth Day is “Invest in our Planet” – a continuation from 2022. The decision to continue last year’s theme points to both its timeliness and significance. Highlighting the importance of dedicating our time, resources and energy to solving climate change, the theme also speaks more widely to how tackling environmental issues not only leads to a greener world, but to a fairer and wealthier world. This was the message from the IPCC’s most recent climate change report, which called for urgent and ambitious action, emphasising the wider social and economic benefits that will come with this – green jobs and access to more affordable energy to name just a couple of examples.  

“For 15 years, the Climate Change Committee’s main recommendation has been to decarbonise British electricity. The offer of cheap, decarbonised electricity for every consumer and business is now within reach, thanks to pioneering efforts to develop renewables.

"Now there is more at stake. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought home the fundamental importance of energy security. A reliable energy system based mainly on UK’s plentiful renewable resources now has new significance.” - Lord Deben, Chairman of the Climate Change Committee.

As an ethical business that prioritises its social impact just as much as its environmental one, this year’s Earth Day theme is relevant on a number of levels. Our mission is to power the transition to a sustainable energy future by helping people meaningfully connect with clean energy projects. We do this by investing in new renewable energy projects, diversifying our portfolio which now includes wind, solar, hydro and battery storage. Building new clean energy sites across the UK is essential for reducing our reliance on harmful, expensive fossil fuels, but also for facilitating a fairer energy system and providing direct benefits to local communities – a focus on local, homegrown renewables is fundamental to our investment approach and underpins our wider mission.  

Powering Communities 

For us, an essential part of “investing in our planet” is investing in local and direct wire renewables. Not only do local renewables reduce the pressure on the grid, but they also benefit communities directly by providing access to cleaner, cheaper energy and in many instances, providing green jobs in the local area.  

We’re proud to have funded the construction of England’s largest wind turbine that’s 100% community owned. Revenues generated from the 4.2MW turbine will be reinvested back into the local area in Lawrence Weston, Bristol, helping to drive regeneration. Also in our home city of Bristol, we’ve offered a local community group shared ownership of our 20MW battery storage project. We’re the first commercial owners in the UK to offer shared ownership of our standalone battery project like this and we’re excited to see money raised from the generation being put towards local causes.  

Via our Community Benefit Programme, we offer energy efficiency grants to community centres close to our sites so they can reduce their carbon footprint while reducing running costs. In the latest round of the programme, we offered over £30,000 worth of funding to 10 community centres, including Easton Community Centre in East Bristol. Our £4,000 grant was put towards installing pipe and loft insulation, helping the to create a warmer and more welcoming space so that the centre could continue running its vital community services.  

Creating A Sustainable Workplace 

“Everyone accounted for, and everyone accountable” – Earth Day calls on all of us to play our part in addressing the climate emergency, emphasising the key role that businesses have in this. As an Impact driven business we continually review our governance and processes to ensure we’re maximising our environmental impact while also providing a positive workplace for our team. We’re a proud B Corp and have for the second-year running been awarded ‘Best for the World’, ranking us among the top 5% of all B Corps in the environment category. As part of B Corp’s Climate Collective we’ve pledged to meet Net Zero by 2030. To date, the clean energy projects we have built have saved over 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, however we’re continuing to focus on further reducing our emissions, measuring our performance against the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.  

We offer sustainable travel incentives for our team, including a bike to work scheme and Climate Perks which grants employees extra paid holiday when choosing sustainable travel. Our office building itself is BREEAM Excellent Certified and all our power is sustainably sourced.   

Protecting and Enhancing Biodiversity 

Biodiversity loss goes hand in hand with climate change and is an essential aspect to address when discussing what it means to “invest in our planet”. Whenever we invest in a new clean energy project, we commit to conserving and enhancing the site’s biodiversity as set out in our biodiversity policy. For example, at our battery storage site in Feeder Road, we’ve installed a number of bird, bat and invertebrate boxes, as well as planting trees, hedgerows, species rich grassland, shade scrub and native ferns that will strengthen local habitat corridors and provide wildlife with food, nectar and pollen. We pledge to achieve 10% Biodiversity Net Gain from all projects developed after 2022 with the aim of exceeding this target where possible. 

While we’re always looking at how we can maximise our environmental impact, global celebration of the climate action movement, like Earth Day, are important for inspiring the mass action that needs to be taken in the climate emergency. There are plenty of ways to get involved in Earth Day. To find events in your area and access a range of online talks and articles, make sure to visit the official Earth Day website.