The business industry and the environment have not always seen eye to eye. For a long while, companies were the scourge of the planet. The stats don’t lie, and enterprises had a significant role in the production of 300 million tonnes of plastic per year. And, they also contributed to recycling only 14% of this figure. This is without mentioning an average carbon footprint of 3 tonnes per person, per year. Businesses have a lot to answer for, but are they making strides or taking a rain check?
The answer is simple: the industry is transforming. As a result, the industry is doing more now to help the planet than ever before. Government grants and a desire to cut costs might be at the forefront of the revolution, but it doesn’t matter. The people who were the plight of environmental groups are making great leaps.
Here is how they are making the change from environment destroyer to eco-friendly.
Putting The Environment Front And Centre
In the past, the reason businesses were harmful to the earth was because they didn’t care. It didn’t matter that carbon emissions were on the rise or that the polar ice caps were melting. As long as the money was rolling in, the process didn’t matter. They were people, and still are, who denied that global warming was happening and was an issue. Thankfully, these days are long gone. Today, 97% of the population believe it exists, while 54% think it is a severe problem. As awareness of the topic increases, businesses have taken measures to evolve. Nowadays, it’s not hard to find a company’s plan for dealing with CO2 emissions within their manifesto. It is usually on their website for everyone to see, front and centre.
Creating A Knock-On Effect
Businesses are funny. Even if they don’t believe in something, they will copy a competitor. It is almost Darwinian as they feel the need to evolve with the times to survive. From technology to cost cutting, rivals regurgitate the same methods over and again. Regarding, eco-friendly measures, this is a positive. Due to the need to keep up with the market, companies have to consider making the switch. The result is a knock-on effect that almost forces businesses to put the planet first. And, it doesn’t stop there because peers, clients and partners are not exempt. When a company decides to go green, it can’t work with people who don’t feel the same way. It’s hypocritical and negates the point of helping the environment in the first place. Therefore, the supply chain has to follow suit if they want to stay in partnership, clients too. Usually, they would rather make a change than lose money.
Getting Into Customer’s Minds
Bosses know that consumers are worried by the state of the planet. And, they know that they want the businesses they use to adhere to their morals. The result is obvious: companies promote their good deeds for revenue’s sake. But, there is an indirect effect which occurs that is excellent for the environment. People talk, and they too like to brag about their good deeds. It’s not rare for consumers to tell people about reusable shopping bags, for instance. Through this word of mouth, the individuals who aren’t helping the planet want to do their part. Yes, it might be a self-conscious thing, but it doesn’t matter as long as the earth’s interests are at heart. Where does this all start? It begins with the companies who advertise their eco-friendly strategies to the general public. Simply put, it’s a knock-on effect that happens outside of the industry.
Taking The Bait
Let’s not beat around the bush – businesses look after number one. It’s not a coincidence that the industry is changing as the incentives increase. Governments are pushing the topic of the planet and use money to get everyone to follow suit. Lots of people will think this isn’t commendable because it is a payoff, essentially. But, businesses deserve credit for taking the bait hook, line and sinker. Otherwise, the status quo would continue nothing would change. It is important to remember that firms are creatures of habit who don’t like change. Even when it is in their interests, they view it with suspicion. By taking the government’s money, they are actively changing their ways and helping the planet in the process. It might not be the most selfless act, but it is an act nonetheless.
Setting Ambitious Targets
Some experts believe the planet as a whole needs to cut emissions by 80% in the next thirty years. Others have the prediction lower, yet it is still a significant amount. It would be easy for companies to say they want to help and then create policies which do nothing. Indeed, firms such as BP and Gazprom are the prime examples as if they continue to exploit the earth’s minerals. Thankfully, the majority of organisations don’t follow suit. Instead, they set ambitious targets that they hope to achieve with a strict yet realistic deadline. Great Business Debate points out that the cement sector is looking to cut emissions by 81% by 2050. That is one percent higher than the global average experts believe is necessary. And, if you think the cement mixers are an anomaly, you’re wrong. From construction to the tech trade, everyone is pulling their weight.
Investing In “Proper” Equipment
Trying to tackle the issue head on is impossible without the right tools by your side. The industry understands this and is making the correct moves in the right direction. Prominent examples are things such as energy-saving light bulbs or paperless technology. With these pieces of equipment, a firm can reduce their electricity usage and save on fuels. And, it can also prevent unnecessary logging by cutting out paper altogether. Trees are essential in tackling CO2, so going paperless is a significant investment. It doesn’t stop there, though. Trade companies opt for commercial bin hire instead of dumping, and coal firms end run off with purifiers. Then, there are the manufacturers who invest in renewable energy sources. Equipment is more ubiquitous than ever, and this a great sign for the environment.
The last paragraph mentioned paperless technology, so let’s take a closer look. Every year, 7 million hectares of forest disappear due to legal and illegal logging. It’s obvious, then, that unplugging the printer isn’t going to have the desired effect. Businesses are aware of this and are taking measures to help. How? They do it through replanting trees. The great thing about wood is that it is a renewable source. Sure, it takes years to grow, yet it doesn’t disappear into the ether altogether. And, because trees use CO2 to photosynthesise, the effect is greater as they take carbon out of the air. It would be simple for businesses to say “look, we are helping by going paperless” and do nothing else. Thankfully, plant-a-tree schemes are happening all around the world, and businesses are at the forefront. Come on – the average person isn’t going to replant a rainforest anytime soon.
Competing With Each Other
Businesses don’t have to think about the planet to help the environment. Their character traits automatically take care of the job as they love to compete. And, they have to stay in touch with their rivals so as not to lose their market share. In the modern era, this helps to create eco-friendly products at a cheaper rate. After all, green products are the way forward, and there are more of them now as more competitors enter the race. The electric car sector is a prime example. Tesla is the king of the industry at the moment, and that doesn’t look to change anytime soon. Still, manufacturers like Nissan and Renault are making a charge with the Leaf and Zoë. Of course, everyone knows about the Toyota Prius, the world famous hybrid. And, Google is even getting in on the action. By competing with one another, they are taking the technology further and cutting emissions. The fact that the cost is less for customer and business only helps promote the process.
Not Looking Back
There are organisations which haven’t gotten the results they wanted or predicted. There are others that got nothing from the transition in the short-term. Generally, you would predict that they would revert to what they know. After all, that is what makes them money and keeps their head above water. This isn’t the case. For the most part, businesses are sticking to their strategies and trying to move forward. They know going green is the future and don’t want to get left behind. Although it’s in their interests, it’s worth applauding because it’s tempting.
Blaming businesses for their impact on the planet is common. After all, they do have previous in the area. But, as you can see from the above, they are making great leaps forward. Apparently, leopards can change their spots.