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Industry and reduction of emission of greenhouse gases or mitigation of the effects of climate change.
New technologies have introduced more effective and efficient ways to conduct business and to manufacture and distribute products. Economies of scale have not always proven to be savings over time but examine the way business is being done with a view to sustainability has proven profitable. See the Interface story below.
Diversification of business has to be weighed against the economy of specialization. Risk taking as technologies promise more economy is riskier! But again may be more sustainable!
Moving into the new century has demanded working smarter and leaner delivery just in time, buying out rivals, working off shore. The new century with emphasis climate change is also providing new opportunities for innovation and cooperation while working toward sustainability. Production of low energy lighting designs, co-generation plants, high efficiency furnaces, programmable thermostats and new building materials are a few of the initiatives shown by manufacturers.
Many countries with fewer resources have met these restraints earlier. Ontario’s conservation culture should support and provide incentives for Ontario companies. E.g. manufacture of wind generators.
The following insert helps put the way of doing business into the context of addressing climate change.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
What’s Important In Business Today?
A New, Broader Vision
Businesses and corporations, sometimes reminded by members of the public, are beginning to pay attention to more than making money. They are realizing that there is a growing expectation that they act as more than isolated profit-making centres. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a vision of companies that look at their broader place in society. It asks them to consider areas of concern that include the well-being of their employees, their communities – and society in general, both now and in the future. It also asks them to look at the total effects of their operations on the natural environment and work to improve them. CSR is a way for corporations to become more responsible and accountable to their shareholders, their customers, their employees and the natural world.
What has led to this move towards Corporate Social Responsibility?
1) Public Demand As corporations have grown larger and larger, and many have become multi-national, people have begun asking them to be more open about how they operate. There is a growing demand for “corporate disclosure” from customers, suppliers, employees, communities, investors, and activist organizations.
2) Ethical Shopping In recent years, more people are using their shopping choices as a form of ethical activism. This selective shopping has helped make companies pay more attention to the factors that are important to their customers: treatment of employees (no sweatshop labour), “fair-trade” prices for commodities to the growers (to coffee, sugar, growers), and environmentally-friendly processes and content (“green products,” energy-saving products, recycled content, forest-friendly, sustainably logged paper products, etc.)
3) Less government regulation In the past corporations depended on governments for legislation and regulations about social and environmental requirements. With tax cuts and reduced government regulation in many places, corporations are increasingly taking on the voluntary role of selecting social and environmental initiatives they believe to be important as business interests.
4) Stocks and Investment More people are considering the social and environmental performances of companies when they are deciding to buy stock in their operations. One report noted that in the US in 1999 there was more than $2 trillion invested in stocks that used screens for environmental and social responsibility.
5) Green and Socially Responsible Purchasing When companies pay more attention to effects of their own performance on social and environmental outcomes, they may then ask their suppliers to do the same. Social and environmental purchasing policies set out standards for ethical companies to deal with the companies they buy from, helping the corporate responsibility attitude to spread.
·to the company
- increased sales and customer loyalty
- greater productivity and quality
- improved financial performance
- lower operating costs
- brand image and reputation
·to the community
- charitable contributions
- employee volunteer programs
- corporate involvement in community education, employment and homelessness programs
- product safety and quality
·and to the environment
- more recycling in processes and product content
- improvements in product design for durability and functionality
- more use of renewable resources
- adding environmental management tools into business plans (life-cycle assessment and costing, environmental management standards, and eco-labelling)
Business Ethics: Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2004 Including the 100 best corporate citizens for the year! http://www.business-ethics.com/
Corporate Social Responsibility: How’s it going, how to get involved? One man’s view on the international scene. http://www.mallenbaker.net/csr/
The International Institute for Sustainable Development Championing innovation, enabling societies to live sustainably. http://www.iisd.org/
Source: Elise Houghton, Environmental Education Onario (EEON) 2004
See Ecological footprint for additional information and direction re reducing emissions as part of the response to climate change.
See also the story of Interface Flooring is a SUCCESS see menu bar- story in which a manufacturing company is increasing its profit by working towards sustainability. Reducing waste and saving energy are just two of the ways the company re-examined its way of doing business.