As environmentalists dig deeper into the causes and consequences of waste and pollution, more and more people are beginning to understand how their actions and habits leave a long-term footprint on the future of the planet. While each individual has a role here, corporations are the ones that play the biggest part. Different industries have caused immense damage through their neglectful or unethical practices, and the subject still triggers controversy on a global scale. Luckily, with environmental awareness increasing in recent years, more businesses have embraced sustainability and have started taking action in environmental preservation. As a business owner, it’s one of your responsibilities to be up to date with the topic, and learn how you can use your status to become an eco-friendly activist.
What is corporate pollution?
A simple definition for corporate pollution would be the greenhouse gas emissions businesses produce and their negative impact on the environment. From disposing of waste in a harmful manner to negligent in-house habits, the level of pollution triggered by companies worldwide can vary. The carbon footprint of a business is far more harmful and extensive than the one of a regular individual. This is why the largest corporations are held responsible by eco-friendly activists when the subject of pollution comes into discussion. Corporate pollution remains a huge issue, according to statistics, but more corporations are determined to improve their practices. Even small businesses have started to follow the example of bigger enterprises, and more action is being taken on the matter.
On a global level, various regulations have been implemented, so while some green measurements are pursued voluntarily, others have become a legal obligation. Non-profit organisations are also working towards determining more companies to acknowledge green initiatives, and awareness is continuously spreading around the globe. In the UK alone, over than 40 companies have pledged to cut plastic pollution and the British government has published a new clean air strategy for consultation.
What green practices should you to adopt?
After understanding your role on the matter, you might be interested in reducing the carbon foot print of your business and giving your company green status. Assessing your direct climate impact should be followed by green measures. But what exactly should you be focusing on first? What is the recommended course of action? While each business can develop its own sustainability plan, depending on its specific profile, there are a few actions that remain relevant in all industries, and these are:
- Rethinking waste disposal habits
Because improper industrial waste practices have repeatedly been pointed out to be a main cause of pollution, stat by reassessing your habits in this department. Are you prioritising recycling within your organisation? Do you compact and bale your business waste? Are you using proper machines and equipment for these processes? Rethink your entire waste management system and if improvements are necessary, make a change as rapidly as possible. Nowadays, you have all the resources and support necessary to optimise waste disposal so you have no real excuse not to do so.
- Go paperless
The amount of paper that is consumed during a single day in the average corporation can be quite significant. Needless to say, relying on paper for business operations also carries a high risk of loss and theft. In the digital era, you no longer need to rely on paper for various tasks, because everything can be converted into an electronic format. Try to reduce your consumption and over time, to go paperless entirely.
- Switch to star-rated appliances
Energy efficient appliances have been on the market for quite some time, so another thing that businesses are advised to do is switch to these alternatives. You would be surprised to discover just how much energy can be saved by installing star-rated bulbs and appliances.
- Green procurement
Regardless of what essential supplies your business needs for its operations, choose green procurement. The number of green vendors has increased lately, so you shouldn’t have any problems in finding the right partners.
- Promote commuting within your company
Start an in-house movement that promotes commuting. If currently all of your employees are using their personal car to get to work, come up with a solution that encourages them to walk, bike, carpool or take the bus to work.
Benefits of going green
Now that you know a bit more about what corporate pollution means and what practices you should consider implementing, you might wonder if there’s more to sustainability than just protecting the environment. Although knowing the harmful impact your business has on the environment should be enough to draw your full interest, you should know that you can benefit in other ways as well. Going green has become a competitive strategy in recent years. Because individuals are now more aware than ever of climate issues, they have started to reassess their consumerism behaviour by directing their attention towards eco-friendly businesses.
From the products purchased to the services hired, today’s consumers prefer relying on green companies to cover their needs. This means that once your brand gains environmentally friendly status, you will be gaining more appeal in front of your target audience. Going green can actually be one of the most effective marketing strategies. Also, there are monetary aspects involved here as well. With energy consumption in-check, a reduction in utility costs will be observed. Depending on country, green initiatives might also be funded and supported through various governmental or non-profit programs, so you can look into this possibility as well.
Corporate pollution has raised numerous concerns over the years, and this why many organisations have been established to combat this aggravating problem. With awareness spread on a global scale, more businesses have acknowledged the relevance of their involvement and have started taking a stand against harmful practices. The small actions are often the ones to be most neglected, but have the biggest impact. So, with all of this information in mind, it’s time you get on board with the sustainability trend, and follow the right initiatives. Greening up your business isn’t as challenging as you might have thought, and the benefits granted are certainly worth the effort.
Founder of online small business community EKing, a co-founder of national enterprise campaign DigitalTraining Britain