Words By Jasmine Crowhurst
As narratives spin the pressure on individual consumption yet is companies that have a larger environmental footprint. In the first steps towards recovering from COVID-19 lockdowns, the discussion has shifted to what kind of world we will be returning to and a time at which corporate sustainability must be at the forefront of these changes in a post-covid-19 era.
In an environment where closed borders and arguments over lockdown rules has created a mistrust of others and also plays a role in the widening gap in global consumerism and citizen trust in big corporate players. Transnational corporations are everywhere with an overwhelming influence on our lives, and threatening potential on the planet. Our planets climate is steering ever deeper into an environmental crisis as mass production, transportation and industrial agriculture continues to intensify to satisfy consumption habits fed to us through clever marketing ploys by successful conglomerates. Now more than ever it is a crucial time to evaluate their actions, and irrevocably shifted attitudes towards companies making substantial contributions to ensure sustainability by making meaningful changes, not just boasting their efforts. Big brands becoming more sustainable can be fruitful to a company’s perception by the public.
Recently, Prince Charles launched his climate campaign which encourages businesses to adopt sustainable practices by 2030. Aptly named the Terra Carta meaning ‘Earth Charter’ was Inspired by the Magna carta which over 800 years ago inspired a belief in the fundamental rights and liberties of people. It aims to raise £7.3 billion in the next decade, to spend on establishing a more sustainable future, and stand as a legacy of our generation by putting sustainability at the heart of the private sector. This action by a prominent social figure is pertinent to the green revolution and the inclusion of businesses in the green movement.
The Global Pandemic has certainly created some positives not only for the environment itself but also for green technologies and the sustainability sector moving forward. Carbon emissions have seen a drop as high as 17% globally due to a reduction in transportation, air travel, and industrial emissions. Now can actually be an advantageous time for companies. By offering new green products or services, a business is more likely to cater to an emerging trend or niche market, which can make it more competitive. By catering to new niche markets using green products and services, these businesses can emerge as future leaders in their sectors and create a higher sense of organisational purpose that will appeal not only to their customers, but to the next generation of employers. Studies have shown millennials and Gen Z’s are more concerned about the environment than any previous generation, prioritizing employers who put sustainability at the forefront.
As COVID-19 has had a damaging effect on recycling efforts globally, companies need to really focus on reducing their waste, particularly when It will be tempting for firms to put any commitment to the environment in the back seat as they attempt to recover and governments reduce requirements which will undermine environmental protection. This is a short-sighted view; businesses should not have to sacrifice their environmental goals to protect their growth. Greening initiatives and promoting sustainable practices that is beyond compliance requirements, can actually help firms and make them more favourable in the public eye. It is business who are responsible for a huge proportion of society’s IT consumption. With Growing concerns over corporate e-waste, it is crucial that companies foster a growing awareness about a better, greener way to consume technology. By 2040, carbon emissions from the production and use of electronics, from devices such as PCs, laptops, monitors, smartphones and tablets will reach 14% of total emissions and by Reusing equipment it can reduce the CO2 emissions per device and save the company money.
It Is crucial that businesses to invest in the health of the planet, and the importance of mainstreaming sustainability into all aspects of the global economy, and COVID-19 presents a generational opportunity to re-think the way that we live our lives. The onus is now on businesses to strengthen their commitment to sustainability. Why? Not only is there a dire responsibility to conduct business with environmental morality in mind, but it will also give businesses the opportunity to stand out against competitors in a post-COVID landscape.