Sustainability Blog

May there be Sustainability!

By Apurva Gosalia - Jun 01, 2021

Hello and welcome to the first post on the new Sustainability Insite Blog – or as I would like to call it, “ecoBLOGical”. I’m writing this post with doubly mixed emotions, as I am currently at the airport in Lanzarote, one of Spain’s eight Canary Islands. In short while minutes, my family and I will take off for Germany after a week’s holiday and go back to daily life.

We flew to the island on May 25. Call it cosmic significance or just a coincidence, but it occurred to me that May 25 was also Spain’s Overshoot Day in 2021. That means from Jan. 1 until now, every person in Spain has already consumed their share of natural resources that the country can renew in the entire year.

If everybody around the world lived like Spain, May 25 would have been Earth Overshoot Day, the calculated calendar date on which resource consumption exceeds Earth’s capacity to regenerate those resources in that particular year. It means that for the rest of the year, society operates in an ecological debit by accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

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By the way, in Germany, from where my vacation began and will end, overshoot day was already May 5!

Time for a little more mathematics. Now that the United States has rejoined, there are 197 countries that have committed to the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. Not all of those countries have an overshoot day, but 55 of them do. The range is from just 13 days in the case of Indonesia up to 325 for Qatar, where in my opinion, the 2022 Soccer World Cup will be a sustainability “Qatar-strophy”!

Of these 55 countries, 11 had their overshoot day in May, making that month the highest-intensity ecological overshoot period of 2021 – and we’re not even half way through the year!

That is where today’s doubly mixed emotions come from. One week ago, I was boarding a plane to come here after being grounded for more than a year by the pandemic. And now I am about to get in a plane to fly back home. This two-way flight will generate a personal carbon footprint, which I leave behind as a burden on the planet. I know how much it is because it is printed on my ticket. Moreover, I flew to Spain on the very day the country was in overshoot.

How could I, someone so immersed in sustainability, in good conscience still enjoy my vacation?

Well, first I decided to offset my carbon footprint for this trip with a climate protection project. Secondly, while I was here, I gave an online lecture on strategic sustainability management to a class of German students. Thirdly, I met up with the general manager of the hotel we stayed at for the past week, who happened to be also the deputy manager of La Isla y El Mar, one of the most sustainable hotels in all of Spain. I advised her on how to become a 100%-carbon-neutral hotel, as they are already striving to become 100% sustainable and offer zero-kilometre water to their clients.

I’d say my debt has been paid!

Once I’m back in Germany – relaxed and with my batteries recharged – I’ll continue lecturing, contributing my sustainability column and articles for Lubes’n’Greases, heading the climate neutrality council in the Sustainability Commission at the Senate of Economy, working as partner with the sustainability consultancy Fokus Zukunft and advising companies and organizations as an independent expert on their sustainability journey and how to make a difference.

Sustainability, or being sustainable, does not mean going without. We all make trade-offs in our personal lives, and companies in various industries, including the global lubricants industry, do the same. And that is OK.

What is important is to continuously be aware of why we are doing what we are doing and how we can find sustainable solutions as people alongside pleasure, profit and planet.

May was in overshoot – May there be … Sustainability!

Boarding has started and this trip is over, but the sustainability journey never ends.



2 replies on “May there be Sustainability!”

Welcome to the Lubes’n’Greases family, Apu! We are so excited that you have joined us in our quest to learn more about sustainability and to become aware of the opportunities that all of us have to contribute to a greener future. I look forward to reading more of your compelling blogs!

Thank you very much – Gabriela. Happy to be part of this journey – now also at LNG. As I told to Simon, David and Howard recently – every industry has its flagship industry magazine and for the global lubricants industry – it certainly was, is and will be LNG!

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