There are actually many decisions we make as a nation that come down to convenience. Unfortunately, these convenient decisions often come with trade-offs. This article begins a series of posts that specifically address the trade-offs that are often associated with convenience and are not necessarily the “best” choice for the environment or sustainable growth.
It has been a slow build up, but companies are now enlightened to consumer attitudes towards sustainability. More and more, consumers are becoming environmentally concerned; and because of this, companies are adapting their operations and turning to greener processes. Numerous studies have revealed the shifting preferences of the global consumers toward more sustainable organizations. The 2001 Journal of Consumer Marketing showed that consumers are willing to pay substantially more for a product that is proven green, compared to another of identical characteristics except the sustainability response. Likewise, the Stanford Social Innovation Review reports that consumers want to act green, but 61% expect businesses to spearhead these efforts. The 2007 National Technology Readiness Survey found that two thirds of respondents prefer to do business with companies which are deemed environmentally responsible.
Here are some facts to consider:
Since the early days of civilization, man has made attempts to record information about the world he lives in. As far back as 7,000 years ago, Sumerians used clay tablets to keep records of daily events, astronomy, literature and even business matters. Today, everything can be recorded making the storage, analysis and manipulation of vast amounts of information far from straightforward. These mammoth data sets are known as Big Data.
Often the stewards of a company’s utility expenditures have the title “Energy Manager” and their primary responsibility is managing the energy utilities, typically electricity and natural gas. Good “sustainability” practices tell us that effective utility management involves paying close attention to other utilities such as water/sewer and solid waste. Superior management of these utilities helps the environment while reducing your cost. Accordingly, reducing usage on any of these four utilities will reduce your carbon footprint and your impact on the environment.
Supply chains are businesses’ lifeblood—they are the means through which products and services are created and delivered to the customer. Supply chains are where you see raw materials travel and transform into goods. Every time you buy a good or service you’re voting with your money for how you want companies and their supply chains to behave.
Creating green supply chains to link companies all over the world is fundamental to helping global sustainability goals. As supply chains are embedded at the core of all businesses, it is therefore important to maximize their potential in helping manage climate risks, ensuring robust bottom lines, and ultimately, helping drive more sustainable economies. This can only be possible with the availability of more standardized and comparable data, strong metrics, and in-depth analyses on the benefits of creating sustainable supply chains to business success and ultimately, to the environment.
Businesses today are steadily realizing the positive impacts of integrating sustainability into their structure and practices. This has ultimately led some companies into undertaking Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, through focusing on sustainability concerns such as taking care of the environment, ensuring employee and consumer safety, and community engagement. As a relatively nascent practice among many companies, many businesses are still struggling to integrate CSR into their structure and operations. To help create more robust CSR initiatives and programs, companies would do well to remember the following:
The drums have long been beating about climate change. Most of us have repeatedly heard the message of how every person can reduce their contribution to greenhouse gases through transportation and energy efficiency. But as individuals, as companies, as organizations and public agencies, what more can we do than changing light bulbs and driving more fuel efficient vehicles? What else can cause real, measurable reductions in the emissions course that the world is currently following? One overlooked area may surprise you.
It is well-known that increasing levels of carbon dioxide have the ability to alter the functioning of many biologically sensitive communities. And while human organizations have the verbal capabilities to communicate how carbon dioxide is impacting their lives, it is important that we also take into account the well-being of those without such a voice and “listen” to the behavior of wildlife as they adapt to their changing ecosystems.
Within the past two decades alone, certain savannas and grasslands in Africa are literally growing proof of the altering effects that raised levels of CO2 can have on wildlife and their habitats. At FirstCarbon Solutions (FCS), we hope that our efforts to reduce carbon emissions, both locally and globally, will help in areas such as the grasslands of the African savannas.
It may still be freezing cold outside with snow on the ground for most of the US, but it’s not too early to start thinking about ways to reduce your sewer cost this upcoming summer from using water for landscaping, cooling towers, or filling up backyard pools.
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