More than Words: Why the Business Should Think about the Environment
Over the recent years, the trend towards eco-friendly lifestyle has been gaining momentum. Many of us have already started waste sorting, or tried to rationalize consumption of natural resources, or taken a more responsible approach to buying things used in our daily lives. However, we have to admit it: efforts alone are not enough to restore the planet.
Over the past 100 years of history, the humanity has witnessed a major technological boom. And while the progress has definitely made out current lives more comfortable, it has caused significant environmental damage, too. Each year, industrial business giants worldwide continue exploiting a huge amount of natural resources, polluting the water, generating hundreds of thousands of tons of waste, and releasing tons of CO2. As a result, nature responds accordingly by making problems such as global warming, droughts, floods, biodiversity loss part of our reality.
Let’s take a look at some facts that speak for themselves:
- Great Pacific Garbage Patch already covers an estimated surface area of 1.5 mln. square kilometers, which is twice and a half the size of Ukraine!
- Nearly 9 bln. tons of waste are dumped into the World ocean annually.
- Human activities reduced forest areas by 40%.
- The Amazon rainforests cover 5.5 mln. square kilometers and account for about 20% of oxygen for the planet. However, over the past half-century, as many as 17% of its plant species have been lost, while deforestation level in 2020 reached its 10-year high, says the United Nations Organization.
- According to the UNO estimates, climate changes have resulted in over 600,000 human deaths over the past 20 years.
Awareness of the upcoming environmental disaster today drives not only individuals, but also the business to become more sustainable for achieving our shared goal, which is restoring and saving the Earth for future generations.
Corporate Social Responsibility
In many countries, the Law on environment protection, which regulates the corporate activities and lack of activities in terms of environment, is implemented nationally. It may also include the concept of social responsibility, which makes the business accountable for consequences of its activities.
Social responsibility is a voluntary contribution of business to improving the environment. This implies commitment to incurring costs for social and environmental actions to mitigate effects of the company’s activities, or for other areas.
Nowadays, corporate social responsibility is no more an option, but a must for each company. This is a competitive advantage, as 81% of global consumers feel strongly that companies must care about the environment and mitigate the environmental damage, according to a study by Nielsen.
Environmental responsibility attracts not only customers, but employees as well. According to a research by Cone Communications, 64% of millennials surveyed will only work for a company that has a developed and planned social responsibility program. Therefore, it’s high time you draw conclusions and included social responsibility in your business plan, in case you haven’t done it before.
Economy vs. Ecology: Finding a Compromise
The balance in terms of environment can only be reached by aligning the importance of a company’s economic growth and its environmental component.
The first step for each producing company willing to reduce its environmental footprint is to start measuring its greenhouse gas emissions. Only measured, such metrics must be analyzed to find out which activities need to be addressed and reviewed to make them more sustainable.
Each company can also reduce energy consumption in its business processes. Electricity saving, using energy-efficient equipment, shutdown of idle hardware when it is not used, elimination of paper workflow – this is a list of the simplest actions that can be taken by all employees.
What does sustainable business undertake?
Sustainable growth principles have already been actively used by many global businesses in their activities.
Here are some of the most notable examples of how companies try to mitigate environmental footprint and reduce the effects of their production.
- H&M collects old clothes to be further sorted and recycled.
- BMW create educational programs to raise awareness about social and environmental threats.
- Intermarche supermarket chain and Chipotle teamed up to fight against unsustainable use of natural resources and launched The Inglorious Fruit and Vegetable, a campaign against increase of food waste.
- LEGO Group has launched and implemented the process of reducing the impact of production on the environment, addressing the climate change and reducing emissions.
- Bill Gates, the founder of the world’s largest corporation Microsoft, spends huge amounts of money every year on environmental initiatives.
Contribution of each Ukrainian matters
70% of Ukrainians believe that the global climate change issue has worsened over the past five years. Moreover, 83% agree that counteracting these processes is the world’s major challenge. 77% admit that climate changes have a direct impact on lives and health of every person on the planet. These are results of the survey by Mastercard and UKRSIBBANK BNP Paribas Group.
Mastercard and UKRSIBBANK BNP Paribas Group are two global companies demonstrating a conscious business approach though their personal example. For example, they are actively involved in preserving natural resources and maintaining the health of our planet.
Indeed, in 2020 Mastercard launched Priceless Planet Coalition, an initiative that brings together consumers, financial institutions, merchants and cities to fight against climate change. Over 50 companies worldwide have already joined Priceless Planet Coalition, and the Coalition continues its active growth. In the nearest five years, the coalition plans to restore 100 mln. trees throughout the world as the strengthened «lungs of the planet» will help decrease greenhouse gasses.
“The aim of the business is not just to follow the sustainability trend in its activities, but to offer consumers a convenient solution so that daily sustainability lifestyle becomes a habit, help them take part in building a global sustainable future”, explains Laurent Dupuch, CEO at UKRSIBBANK BNP Paribas Group.
In 2021, UKRSIBBANK BNP Paribas Group joined the project as an exclusive representative of Ukraine in the coalition.
Thanks to the bank, each Ukrainian can benefit the project. For example, UKRSIBBANK customers can make a personal contribution to restoring the forests and preventing global warming. For that, you just need to make contactless NFC payments using your Mastercard with UKRSIBBANK. For these payments, the bank will allocate additional funds to plant 75,000 trees in the world’s vital forests of Australia, Kenya and Brazil — this is where climate and forest restoration experts advise to do so first to prevent a catastrophe.
Environmental responsibility must become one of the key items in each company’s business plan. Then, there will be no need to put efforts into correcting errors and readjusting business processes. One small action in the production or office today will help avoid a global environmental catastrophe in the future. This is why the business, just like each of us, should think about it today. Until it is too late.
Published on August, the 4th on biz.nv.ua