2021: Our Mission - A message from Rob and Charlie.
By Charlie Chappatte and Robert Ford, posted January 14th 2021
I took a walk down Tooting High Street in South London (my local high street, in case anyone asks!) last week. I normally love the high street, the panoply of different cultures and independent stores, people meeting and talking in the street, people out for drinks and being merry.
But it made for a grim walk.
It wasn’t deserted, but the streets didn’t have their usual hustle and bustle. There’s a general feeling of guardedness as people keep their distance. There are more cars than ever, as people avoid public transport. And everything felt grey. Grey buildings, grey skies, grey pavements, a grey mood.
With the new year now come, Rob & I have been thinking about what our purpose is as a company. What our mission is. Yes, we sell plants (and love doing it, by the way). But what is it that we want to really achieve as a business? What change do we want to create in the world for the better? And what’s the plan to make that change happen?
Our new mission
Greener homes, greener streets: let’s make London the greenest city in the world.
Our 2021 Plan:
INVEST 1% from future orders to re-greening city projects: starting in London, we’ll be supporting projects, charities, communities and organisations that enhance nature and biodiversity, or improve our air and water quality with nature-based solutions.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION about re-greening cities: we’ll be releasing a newsletter every couple of weeks or so about the issues in this space, looking at the problems and the awesome work being done
GET INVOLVED in local regreening projects: Rob & I will be actively taking part in re-greening projects this year; we’ll give you guys regular updates and let us know if you’d like to join in!
(Now - for all you non-Londoners out there; once we figure out how we can help make London greener, as we expand to further cities, we’ll expand our re-greening efforts wherever we go).
The challenge, as we see it:
If you think about it for a moment, cities are really miraculous places. Half of humanity (that’s 3.5 billion people) live in cities, and that’s predicted to grow to 5 billion by 2030. They are places of immense creativity, innovation, social activity, industry, energy and diversity. Where else can you chat start-up ideas over lunch at your favourite Afghan restaurant, pick up your groceries from the local Korean store, head to an outdoor exercise class in the afternoon, before you see your mates at a Reggae bar in the evening? (Ah, we miss those pre-pandemic times - but they will be back!)
Although London is almost 47% green space, along with other British cities, she faces major environmental challenges. Green spaces are in decline at a rate of 2.5 Hyde Parks per year, and many urban residents have no private green space. Poor air quality (from congestion, building emissions etc.) is a major health issue, with London ranking as the worst city in Europe for the health costs of air pollution. According to the National Biodiversity Network, 41% of UK wildlife species are in decline since 1970 with no sign of the rate of loss slowing. And as much as we love our London parks, there are big disparities in access to green space across London.
Our old European chums have identified five major environmental opportunities for European cities:
Enhancing nature and biodiversity;
Improving air quality;
Reducing noise pollution;
Improving municipal waste management and advancing the circular economy;
Improving the quality of water bodies and the efficiency of water use.
Our commitment for 2021 is to support, work on and shout about some of the incredible projects happening all across
London, with a focus on enhancing nature, biodiversity, and improving air quality.
Why do we think it's important?
We want our cities to be greener - both inside our homes and out. Why? Because greener cities make people happy. Greener cities make people healthier. And greener cities are better for the environment.
We’re joining the re-greening revolution, championing people, charities, businesses and organisations that are taking steps to make the environment we live in that little bit more pleasant. That derelict car park around the corner? Let’s tear up the tarmac to make an urban micro-jungle. That dilapidated verge over the road. Let’s plant up some pollution trapping plants. That boring community lawn near the common? Let it run wild, turning it into a habitat for our diminishing hedgehog population.
Growing things brings people and communities together.
So as we build greener homes and greener streets we’ll build community cohesion, while protecting our cities from climate change and improving air quality.
We'll be supporting with our wallets, joining the conversation and getting hands on. We hope you’ll join us on the way.
Charlie & Rob
P.S. If you know anyone who might be interested in getting involved, feel free to share this link to our newsletter signup page!