The climate crisis is happening right now, and its impacts are already being felt all over the world — from flash floods in Western Europe to record-breaking heat in Canada. Everyone demands more immediate actions to significantly reduce and stop emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere not just from governments but also from businesses.
Businesses particularly play a major role in the worsening climate crisis. Businesses also can make changes that will prevent an environmental catastrophe in the near future.
To Save Earth
The issue of climate change affects everyone and, therefore, is the responsibility of everyone. To reduce emissions, individuals need to make more eco-friendly decisions in their everyday life. Businesses, too, need to take steps toward more eco-friendly practices.
There is an incentive for businesses to go green. Across the United Kingdom, so-called ethical consumers are driving the growth of businesses that are focused on providing sustainable alternatives, including food, drinks, clothing, energy sources, and eco-travel. As of 2019, the total ethical consumer spending reached over £41 billion — an almost fourfold growth in the past two decades. It has outperformed all household expenditures across the nation.
Sustainability sells, especially among the younger crowd who are concerned over the future of the planet and passionate about social causes. Even big corporations such as Amazon, Microsoft, Unilever, and Coca-Cola have all taken steps toward reducing their negative impact on the planet.
Is It Enough?
In 2020, a total of 31 companies signed an agreement to become carbon neutral on or before 2040. According to Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, the move sends an important signal to the market that there needs to be significant and urgent demand for technologies that can help develop a zero-carbon economy.
Amazon itself has already made progress toward running on 100 percent renewable energy by 2025. The company has invested in fully electric delivery vehicles and using more recycled materials as well as sustainable packaging on their products.
However, a report from a non-profit group says that these efforts are not enough. Ceres explained that, while 92 percent of the S&P 100 companies have pledged to reduce their emissions, only 40 percent of them are making efforts to pressure lawmakers to address climate change. In fact, 21 percent of the same set of companies advocated against science-based climate policies over the years.
It proves that, for many companies, the pledge to help fight climate change is nothing but a marketing tactic to save face. There needs to be consistency and coherence between what they claim to do and what they actually do to prevent an environmental catastrophe.
Here are what businesses of all sizes can do to combat climate change.
Planet Before Profit
Businesses, and the world, will not reach their climate goals without integrating eco-friendly practices and strategies within the office and entire operations. This involves the use of renewable energy sources such as solar power and, if necessary, solar PV remote monitoring services to ensure that the system is producing maximum energy generation. Others recommend going fully digital to reduce the use of paper which, as it turns out, has a carbon footprint of 6,000 kilograms.
Reduce Your and Value Chain Emissions
Many businesses are already on the path toward reducing their carbon footprint, but what about their suppliers? What about the products they sell to their customers? Businesses need to take a look at not just their own emissions, but those outside the walls of their offices, too. The effort needs to extend toward driving down value chain emissions by creating a procurement and supplier code of conduct criteria, changing the design and shifting to eco-friendly materials, and collaborating on solutions with customers.
Businesses need to come up with innovative solutions to climate change. There are many areas where new technology is sorely needed to more quickly mitigate the climate crisis.
Businesses should encourage innovation by allowing their employees to come up with novel ideas. Google, for example, does something similar. The company has an R&D division called “Moonshot X” where employees are free to explore their ideas, no matter how terrible or implausible it may seem. Most of the ideas that come out of Moonshot X are killed but, sometimes, it gives birth to brilliant concepts such as Google’s self-driving car which is currently in development.
Use Their Position to Influence Immediate Action
Corporations regularly lobby for or against legislation that either helps or limits their growth. Businesses, therefore, need to wield their influence and pressure governments and organizations to prioritize climate action.
The need to act is urgent. Businesses can take action to prevent an environmental catastrophe in the near future. While big strides are being made, there is still a lot to be done. The battle against climate change will require the contribution of everyone.