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COP26 is here in Glasgow. Once the second industrial city of the empire, we’ve gone from heavy industry to hosting future-defining talks aimed at creating a greener future. It’s an interesting time for the city as we welcome global delegates to our Dear Green Place.

And that’s the nub of our collective ‘blindness’ – our Dear Green Place. Historically Glasgow was a small riverside settlement that over 500 years transformed itself to a burgeoning city of industry, innovation, culture, and unfortunately, pollution. At its peak in the years following the Industrial Revolution and through to the 1960s, our air pollution rates skyrocketed. Between factories, heavy industry, and a reliance on burning coal to heat the homes of a million Glaswegians, many people will remember the thick ‘pea soup’ smog that would regularly blanket the city. No number of Victorian parks and woodlands dotted around the city could combat that and today our Dear Green Place psyche blinds us to the fact that whilst we have visibly clean air and hardly any chimneys on the skyline, we still pollute our environment.

Carbon capture? Net zero? Climate emergency? These phrases weren’t in the common vernacular until the last decade, let alone 1960s polluted Glasgow.

But here we are in late 2021 and our fair city is on the world stage once more. No matter your view on how ironic, or not, it is to fly delegates to a single location via polluting air miles, to have a chat about reducing carbon emissions and trying to slow down our climate emergency, this is an era-defining point in global history. A huge amount of planning for this 12-day event is coming to fruition and after the success of hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games, it is time once more for Glasgow to shine in the spotlight. And not to mention many of our clients who are doing a first class job contributing to the event’s smooth running at the Scottish Event Campus and across the city.

A recent study published the startling fact that smaller firms are responsible for around 30% of all UK greenhouse gas emissions. So, what can we do collectively to make a substantial reduction? What are the barriers? What support is available to decarbonise in a timely and financially stable way?

Cole AD accepts we have a part to play to help the planet in any way possible because quite simply, where else are we going to live? 

We have been avid recyclers of paper & plastics for over 15 years. With our office moves across the years as we grew, we’ve given furniture to good causes in need instead of sending it to the landfill. Plus many of our team donate warm clothes to homeless shelters in the winter instead of throwing them away.

As creatives and marketers, we believe we have a duty to ensure that what we deliver for clients does not create needless waste, carbon or pollution. There are alternative inks, papers and products that can be utilised when producing physical forms. 

There are options for where we work, how we work and the impact those choices have on the environment. There are options to reduce, reuse and recycle. We hope in the very near future prestige and aspiration comes not from the pursuit of newness, but the pursuit of innovative reuse.

There are of course many more global and societal factors affecting the environment, from what we eat, where our food comes from, fuelling global economic development, fuel poverty and transportation challenges. For us, starting in our collective own backyards seems like a sensible place for change to take root, regardless of the agreements reached at COP26. 

Everyone has to play their part, to think otherwise would be foolish and although we’re not perfect, we are trying – hopefully you are too!