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The Environmentally Responsible Business

21 Jun 2018

Being environmentally responsible will obviously have a positive impact on the environment, but how can it benefit business? Instead of taking on environmental best practices due to compliance, companies should be made aware of the business benefits that social and environmental responsibility can offer them.

What does it mean for a business to be ‘green’?

This could include any activity that promotes sustainability and protection of the environment, through operational, technological or product efforts. Examples include recycling, using environmentally-friendly materials that are locally sourced, decreasing energy consumption, using alternative methods of energy to reduce air pollution, and using efficient distribution methods that reduce overall carbon footprint and fossil fuel consumption. Using ‘green’ or sustainable methods in business is not only good for the environment, but also good for the company’s image.

Some companies steer clear of such measures as they believe that they come with higher costs, but this isn’t necessarily true. In any case, there are various environmental rules and regulations that companies must follow, and these may differ across countries and company types. Examples include:

  • Compliance with legislation on emissions into the air.
  • Compliance with legislation on hazardous substances, including storage, use and disposal. These may include animal by-products, oil, ozone-depleting substances, chemicals, pesticides, radioactive materials and substances in electronic equipment.
  • Managing business waste for recycling by separating the waste into appropriate categories: paper, plastic, metals, card, glass, and food where appropriate.

Every company – particularly those that are situated near protected areas such as local nature reserves and national parks - must also be aware of their responsibilities to the conservation and protection of biodiversity.

Although companies should strive to prevent pollution incidents, in the event of an incident, they should report it immediately. Examples of incidents include water or land pollution, gas leaks, illegal dumping of hazardous waste and poaching or illegal fishing. 

So, how do you, as a business, decide how to take on sustainability practices? Market research on your customers’ needs will enable you to highlight areas of your business where you can introduce green measures. The goal is to reduce the negative impact on the environment, improve your company’s perception in your consumers’ eyes, but also to improve your company’s operations, efficiency and costs.

Innovating in new green products and materials, or in processes and operations, will also allow you to differentiate from competitors, and may ultimately impact your bottom line, either increasing your market share or decreasing your costs. So, aim to make your company more ambitious on the environmental front, and do good for both your business and the planet.