Monday, 11 September 2006

Environmental Responsibility for Business

When staying in a hotel, common decency dictates that during your residence, you do not trash the room, spoil its d├ęcor, and leave it in a poor state for the next guest. For some, however, the opportunity to make a mess is all too tempting, with the assumption that “oh hell, someone else will clean up”. Typically the same individual, on a property they own would take considerably more care. Why? Because the damage they do, is largely their own fault, and spoils their living space.

The same analogy, I feel, is true of the global environment. We, as creatures, have no real claim on this earth. We are here for a little while to enjoy it, and share it with the billions of other creatures and species, before time claims us, and the next generation take over. Much like a hotel, most of us who make our messes here assume that someone else (eg: Greenpeace, Oxfam, etc) will clean up the mess for the next guest (our kids!).Technology has progressed to a point now where we have little or no excuse to not make an effort to be more environmentally aware, and with Corporate Social Responsibility being key to small and large businesses alike, this is something we all owe it to ourselves to get involved in.

Climate Change, as a phenomenon is real. The effects can be seen now, with stronger global storms, weather changes, and massive bits of ice (eg: Larsen B) breaking off and melting into the ocean. Some quick facts include:

• The ten hottest years in recorded history have occurred since 1990
• The northern polar ice cap has lost 40% of its thickness in the last 50 years alone.
• There has been a 10% reduction in global crop yields through temperature rises in the past century.
• 25% of all land mammals could be extinct within 50 years
• The world could be up to ten degrees warmer by 2100

These changes have been measured, and seen, a lot within our lifetimes, and are IRREVERSABLE (facts provided by the climate trust)

As businesses we can do a lot to help slow the rate of climate change, including looking at energy efficiency throughout business including electricity, lighting, energy efficient equipment, policy on energy usage, fuel efficient cars, and eco friendly/recycled materials.

While you may feel that your changes may not make a difference, the fact is that if all businesses adopt and encourage environmentally sound policies, the overall effect could not only save businesses billions in wasted energy, but could reduce the UK’s emissions, and reduce drainage on natural resources.

And if you don’t believe me, may I recommend you view: http://www.aninconvenienttruth.co.uk/

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