Exploring the role of businesses in environmental protection 

Environmental issues affect each and every one of us, from consumers to corporations and governments. Therefore, the responsibility for protecting the planet and ensuring a safer and healthier future for the next generations shouldn’t fall on one entity alone. We should all play our part in reducing the negative impact on the environment and trying to leave this world a little better than we found it. 

While it’s true that we all contribute to climate change and global pollution, and real change can only stem from a collective effort, we can’t ignore the fact that some of us have more power than others to make a visible difference. In the grand scheme of things, individual actions pale in comparison to the measures that can be taken by the big players. 

That’s not to say that we, as individuals, should stop making efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and mitigate the negative effect we have on the planet. But the true drivers of change should be large businesses and corporations, as they have a wealth of resources at their disposal and can do a lot more to turn things around. They’re also some of the biggest polluters on the planet, so it makes perfect sense for them to have a greater contribution to environmental protection. 

That’s why we feel it’s important to raise awareness in this respect by touching on some key points regarding corporate environmental responsibility and what it implies in this day and age. 

Corporate environmental responsibility explained 

Before we go in-depth on the subject, it’s important to make sure everyone is familiarized with the concept of corporate environmental responsibility or CER. In simple terms, CER refers to the obligation that companies have to minimize or eliminate their negative impact on the environment. 

The term is linked to corporate social responsibility (CSR), as both these concepts have a focus on environmental protection. However, while CSR includes many other aspects, CER focuses solely on keeping the planet safe through consistent efforts. 

As studies have already demonstrated, corporations can play a big part in preventing ecological disruptions. They are large consumers of natural resources, generate a huge amount of waste and the connection between the activities they run and global warming can’t be denied. It’s therefore their responsibility to use the power they have in order to address concerns such as climate change, air and water pollution, deforestation, global warming, and so on. 

Does that mean that business operations only lead to harmful outcomes and they should cease their activity? But what they should do is operate in a manner that is less harmful to the environment, such as developing sustainability initiatives and more environmentally-friendly approaches to commercial waste collection and recycling. Looking at ways businesses can reduce or even eliminate the damage they cause to nature and society as a whole is what CER is all about.

Examples to follow

While the business environment is replete with negative examples, there are also plenty of companies that have done their homework and are learning to do things the right way. Companies such as IKEA or UPS that are taking active measures to go green should serve as an inspiration to us all. 

IKEA has already included CSR initiatives within their business strategy through their People & Planet project and has big plans for the future. Their main objectives are:

  • Ensuring a healthy and sustainable lifestyle for more than one billion people 
  • Creating a circular business model by using already existing materials and products 
  • Providing a fair and safe work environment for all the staff members in their supply chain

Their Climate and Energy initiatives have yielded amazing results so far. They’ve managed to up their supply strategy by using wood entirely from sustainable sources, and they only use LED light bulbs all throughout their company’s premises, which are considerably superior to traditional light bulbs in terms of energy efficiency. 

UPS also proves that companies can find viable solutions to mitigate environmental impact, regardless of their industry or niche. As a major player in the shipping industry, providing package delivery services and supply chain management solutions at a global level, their main concern was reducing their carbon emissions. Their approach was to collaborate with an independent auditing agency to accurately assess their energy use and the amount of carbon emissions they generate in order to work towards reducing their environmental footprint.   

What can companies do to protect the environment? 

The positive examples can continue, but we should address another important topic on the agenda, namely the solutions that companies should employ to step up their sustainability game and protect the environment. So, here are some of the strategies that can help businesses achieve their green goals. 

Regular sustainability audits 

Since each company is unique and faces different sustainability challenges, the best way to find out what your business can do to enhance its efforts for protecting the environment is by conducting regular sustainability audits. The results of these audits will provide valuable insights into your company’s policies and procedures, helping you identify the gaps in your strategy and the areas that require improvement.  

Evaluating internal processes 

What are the solutions that you’re currently employing to reduce waste and resource consumption in your company? Recycling experts at Miltek explain that optimizing waste management and focusing on recycling are key components in reducing company costs while also minimizing your impact on the environment. Evaluating your internal processes should help you find effective solutions for reusing, recycling, and reducing waste in your business.   

Investing in technology 

Technology can also provide solutions to the challenges you might face and help you become a more sustainable business. From using energy-efficient equipment and appliances, like IKEA is doing, to digitalizing some areas of your business (e.g., creating a paper-free office), there are many ways in which tech advancements can support your sustainability efforts. 

Supply chain management 

Sustainability goes beyond what happens inside your business. You also have to pay attention to how your supply chain is affecting the environment. By working with environmentally conscious suppliers and logistics companies, you’ll be able to get one step closer to running a green business. 

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