Small step for climate change through corporate responsibility
The need of the hour is for individuals and corporations to do their bit in reducing our emissions and shrinking our carbon footprint. According to the Carbon Majors Report, 100 companies alone have been responsible for more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. The grave responsibility of contributing to the detriment of climate rests on their shoulders. Corporations are now on the stand to reduce emissions by adopting greener alternatives and doing so swiftly. While sustainability is not one-size-fits-all, the following eco-friendly practices would be prudent adaptations for big and small businesses alike.
Talking about recycling in this day and age may seem repetitive, but it is one of the key practices that can help reduce and prevent pollution as well as finding more cost-effective ways to utilize resources. The key is innovation. Production byproducts in many industrial processes can be recycled into something productive, given the proper treatment.
One such example can be the eco-friendly 6-pack rings (E6PR) made from recycling byproducts left at the end of the craft beer production at the Florida-based Saltwater Brewery. The E6PR rings were created as an initiative to protect native marine wildlife from the harmful effects of plastic packaging rings that, when disposed off incorrectly, would often end up in the ocean. E6PR rings are sturdy, 100% biodegradable, made from organic grain fiber and perfectly safe even to be eaten.
Recycling can also apply to things like product packaging and non-organic office waste. Corporations can work in tandem with their local governing bodies to set up recycling drives. These outreach initiatives may also be extended towards customers and local communities.
- Utilizing green energy
Reducing the amount of fossil fuels consumed is an important aspect of eliminating harmful emissions. However, these power sources require greener alternatives in their place. Solar and wind energy are long-term, renewable options. They are, however, still not as widely implemented infrastructurally.
In the case of transportation, electricity and compressed natural gas (CNG) have become prominent and well-established alternative fuels. While CNG vehicles have been mainstream for some time now, electric vehicles are steadily gaining popularity in recent years, the most well-known being Elon Musk’s Tesla. The use of public transportation and carpooling should be encouraged and incentivized.
Since the advent of Covid-19, the world has seen great progress in digitizing the workplace, with the majority of office work in both public and private sectors being performed remotely. Not only does digitization make workflow swift, easy and efficient, but switching to more technologically advanced options has the prominent upside of dramatically cutting down paper usage within a corporate setup. Furthermore, on a corporate scale, the replacement of disposable stationery with digital options would significantly reduce the waste generated by them.
- Responsible procurement
A major aspect of responsible procurement is shopping locally for goods and services. It is overall more cost-effective and environmentally safe to source products and raw materials locally. Local procurement cuts the costs of shipping and transportation, eliminating the emissions associated with these activities. Furthermore, localized procurement helps support small businesses and suppliers. Responsible procurement takes into account sourcing products and services in a manner that is ethical towards the environment and the communities that produce them.
The recent IPCC report and the future of climate change
But why is corporate responsibility even more urgent now than ever? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s sixth and most recent assessment report has caused an uproar by declaring its verdict on humanity’s crimes against the climate — Guilty as charged.
The report, authored by 234 experts from 66 countries, states that human activity is “unequivocally” affecting every bit of the planet’s land, air and sea already. The situation is expected to progressively deteriorate further.
The IPCC report tells us that temperatures are expected to rise by more than 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels in the span of the next two decades, breaching the goal set in the 2015 Paris climate agreement. The effects of this rise in temperature would result in rare phenomena like hurricanes, tsunamis, fires, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Many parts of the world are already facing the consequences of climate change in the form of devastating floods and heat-wave-induced fires.
UN secretary-general, António Guterres, stated, “This report is a code red for humanity. The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk.”
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