Everyone has a responsibility to take care of the environment. We live in one world, and all of us will be affected by its destruction. Businesses have a more significant role because, according to research and findings, companies, especially the big ones, have a bigger impact on the environment.
How Companies Affect the Environment
The Guardian reports that only a hundred companies contribute 71% of global emissions. These emissions come from fossil fuel extraction; catastrophic effects of these emissions include global warming, species extinction, and food scarcity worldwide.
Aside from the oil and gas industries, other businesses also have a profound effect on the environment through different means. It can be through the use of equipment, consumption of energy, and production of waste from different business activities. Manufacturers are responsible for damaging the environment by using extensive raw materials, creating by-products such as emissions, and using different forms of transportation when distributing goods.
Even small businesses generate a lot of waste. Waste can be in the form of paper and cardboard, plastic bottles, metal cans, and batteries, and small electrical equipment. The healthcare sector is a producer of waste, too, because it uses clinical materials that are impossible to be recycled or reused.
A Business’s Responsibility
Because of the undeniable contribution of business organizations in damaging the environment, the US Environmental Protection Agency shares different regulatory information per business sector. No matter what industry a business belongs to, a company needs to follow the rules to protect the environment.
An example of an environmental requirement is an SWPPP to prevent stormwater pollution. SWPPP is a stormwater pollution prevention plan that is required during the construction process. By having an SWPPP, bodies of water are protected from potential risk and damages.
Aside from the rules imposed by the EPA, small businesses can do simple ways to help the environment, too. Here are some sustainable practices small businesses can do:
It’s a simple solution, but it’s highly effective. Instead of having employees constantly buy water bottled in plastic containers, a company can produce less waste by providing a water refilling station. Encourage employees to bring their own cups and water containers to avoid using disposable cups.
The hospitality industry can also learn from hostels, too. Some hostels also provide water refilling stations to encourage guests to choose sustainable practices instead of creating more waste.
Paper waste reduction
Through technology, businesses can now go paperless. Rather than printing documents and using more paper, choose to go online and send documents to the company and personal devices. Some businesses may still be using fax machines, but there is an existing fax-to-email solution that can help in cutting back on paper waste.
Technology and cutting back on energy use
Aside from helping in paper waste reduction, using technology offers a great solution in cutting back a company’s carbon footprint. The work-from-home setup most companies are now using is helping immensely in reducing the use of energy in office spaces. At the same time, workers need to travel to work less; this cuts back on the use of transportation that also contributes to carbon emissions.
In the office, one can help reduce energy use by ensuring that all appliances and electrical equipment are plugged out. Make a constant reminder to each employee to turn their computers off before leaving the office.
Why Take the Responsibility Seriously
As the need to address environmental issues become more urgent, companies must take the step now. Currently, top businesses taking the lead in sustainable practices include BMW and Adidas.
BMW, for instance, has made sustainable efforts in producing vehicles that create lesser emissions. It has made hybrid and electric cars an available option for consumers who wish to help save the environment.
Taking sustainable steps not only improves the environment but also makes a good impression on a business’s customer perception. Studies reveal that more than half of Americans prefer companies that have social and environmental advocacy in the US. Around 87% of US consumers will likely buy in a company that has this advocacy.
A company conscious of social and environmental factors is also seen as an organization with ethics and integrity. Therefore, being mindful of sustainability can also be considered an important business strategy.
Engagement Is Key
To pursue sustainable practices, engagement is crucial. From top to bottom, employees and leaders must both think about and engage in sustainable practices. Every contribution counts to ensure that the future generations get to experience a better world with enough resources.