As Humanity Adapts to One Crisis, Let’s Not Forget the Bigger Challenges for a Sustainable Future

(Photo by Nils Nedel on Unsplash)

Four months ago, as the European coronavirus crisis reached its peak, I wrote a post with the message: “We didn’t come this far to only come this far.”

Almost all our retailers had closed, our suppliers had closed, our office was closed, I was back at my kitchen table, and our small team was suspended, furloughed, fired, or desperately trying to save the company. “Normal” had been ripped away from us, and it suddenly looked like seven years of hard work were about to come undone by a giant black swan event.

We weren’t alone.

Fast-forward to now and our small company has survived those first, scary waves. We’re back together, and wiser for it. At Skandinavisk, we’ve even finished the first half of 2020 with some optimism that we can navigate whatever else this particular storm throws at us. While we don’t yet know how destructive the next waves of the pandemic will be, the experience has provided a timely reminder of the much larger storm on the horizon.

The climate crisis is humanity’s biggest challenge and — now that we have all learned how to deal with one emergency by rapidly changing our daily lives — we should not forget this lesson when the COVID-19 storm subsides and life returns to normal.

Because do we even want a return to the old normal we once so complained about? Or would we rather define a new normal that also addresses the scale of the climate tsunami advancing toward us?

Pre-coronavirus, when we set out to upgrade our product collection all in one go, it wasn’t because the original collection wasn’t working, and it wasn’t because we weren’t happy with how we had built it. After all, our original collection helped us become a Certified B Corporation — an international standard for companies with the lowest social and environmental impact, and one that legally obliges us to consider the impact of all our decisions on our people, our customers, our suppliers, our community, and our planet.

No, we upgraded our entire collection because we realised — through seven years of accumulated knowledge and experience — that we could make it even better, more true to the “better world” promise that we preach. That we could leave a lighter footprint, and that it was our responsibility to do so.

Our Next Generation collection is more local, more natural, more organic, more ethical, and more responsible. It’s part of our contribution to reducing the impact of the storm that humanity needs to stop debating and start doing something serious about.

We think it’s more relevant now than when we launched it almost half a year ago — into a world of accelerating climate awareness, and Greta at the UN telling our leaders to simply stop now.

This poem reminds us of what to remember when the world does indeed stop.

B The Change gathers and shares the voices from within the movement of people using business as a force for good and the community of Certified B Corporations. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the nonprofit B Lab.

Weathering COVID-19 with an Eye on the Storm Ahead was originally published in B The Change on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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