Circular economy has become an extremely popular term in recent years. It is seen as the solution to the ongoing global environmental crisis, which is more severe than the pandemic and sometimes plays second fiddle to other global matters. As its name suggests, this type of economy requires a continuous system of production and reuse of resources and waste that can be used in many fields, from the fashionable food industry and the automotive to the energy one. Initiatives in this regard already exist, albeit on a small or medium scale.
Climate change can be overwhelming. The science is complex, and when it comes to future impacts, there are still a lot of unknowns. While real solutions will require action on a global scale, there are choices you can make in your day-to-day life to lessen your personal impact on the environment. This guide will walk you through some of them. A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions that come from the production, use and end-of-life of a product or service. It includes carbon dioxide — the gas most commonly emitted by humans — and others, including methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases, which trap heat in the atmosphere, causing global warming. Usually, the bulk of an individual’s carbon footprint will come from transportation, housing and food.
Want to reduce your company’s environmental impact, but not sure where to start? Whether you’re a large or small business, embarking on the quest for sustainability might feel overwhelming if your operations have been less than planet-friendly in the past. Take a deep breath, small steps, and some pointers from an organization that’s on a similar journey. When you’re ready to boost your firm’s sustainability efforts, start by challenging the common assumption that industry and sustainability don’t mix. While these two ideas may seem at odds in action, the corporate sphere is proving they go hand in hand. To have a chance of achieving corporate sustainability, you must believe your business can drive positive environmental outcomes. The road to a greener business? Laying a foundation of sustainability in your work culture. Here’s your guide to building sustainability into your corporate value system.
Environmental sustainability is no longer just a corporate social responsibility (CSR) issue—it’s a business imperative. Opportunities and risks related to the environment now challenge the strategies and operating models of organizations across all sectors and functions. In fact, environmental strategy choices, as a subset of a broader sustainability agenda, increasingly define a company’s prospects in today’s competitive marketplace. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report 2020, the top five business risks were linked to environmental challenges, including extreme weather and climate action failure. So it’s no surprise that investors and financial managers are increasingly incorporating sustainability criteria in their investment decisions. In early 2020, Blackrock, the largest money manager in the world, announced “that sustainability should be our new standard for investing.” Customers and employees have also become much more environmentally conscious. A recent study by IBM found that nearly 80 percent of consumers indicate sustainability is important to them and 60 percent are willing to change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact.
Once viewed as a costly exercise, sustainability is being embraced by a growing number of retailers as a strategy that delivers cost savings and satisfies the demands of consumers. Companies are exploring automation tools to reduce the amount of packaging used, trying to find alternatives to plastic, and looking to install solar panels to reduce their carbon footprint. With the rise of the conscious consumer, more ecommerce retailers are putting the time and the effort into making sure they have more sustainable practices. Some have found it can be the decider between a customer buying off their site or a competitor’s. To chart a more sustainable path and manage the increased consumer scrutiny of their business practices, retailers are also hiring more professionals whose main responsibility is to manage the ethical side of the business. Others are embedding sustainable practices into their DNA.
Today’s executives are dealing with a complex and unprecedented brew of social, environmental, market, and technological trends. These require sophisticated, sustainability-based management. Yet executives are often reluctant to place sustainability core to their company’s business strategy in the mistaken belief that the costs outweigh the benefits. On the contrary, academic research and business experience point to quite the opposite. Embedded sustainability efforts clearly result in a positive impact on business performance. Drawing from our own research and our colleagues’ research in this area, we have created a sustainability business case for the 21st century corporate executive. Hoping to alleviate their concerns, this article also provides concrete examples of how sustainability benefits the bottom line.