arguments against CSR and some answers
Global Reporting Initiative - commentary
Anyone with children has a stake in future generations and the ability of the environment to support life. But environmental good practice is also about business efficiency - it's about the best use of valuable raw materials, and feeding the benefits of action straight through to the bottom line.
It's your business
What's the environmental bottom line of your processes? The answer is tied up in the amount of energy you use - and the contribution this energy use makes towards issues such as climate change. It is tied up in how you source your raw materials - and what is the impact upon the environment of their extraction? It is tied up in the quantity of water you use. And it is underlined by the amount of environmental risk you take.
If you get it wrong, the costs can be high. The need for global action is increasingly leading governments to begin to price higher through taxation the essential resources which need preserving. Maintain your dependence on these resources too long, and you can find your competitors leaving you behind. A growing body of environmental legislation also threatens to present you with fines and a damaged reputation for any environmental incidents on one of your sites. And in any case, if you haven't studied your process to identify where waste occurs, you're probably losing out on around 1% of your overall turnover that could be switched straight from the trash heap to the bottom line.
What's the benefit?
Please your customers! Customers are becoming increasingly demanding. As awareness of the global scale of environmental problems grows, they are looking for companies to present them with purchasing decisions which can be taken without compromising the future.
Reduce your costs! Wasted energy, wasted water, raw materials that are paid for and then thrown away, potential environmental accidents leading to fines - all these are costing your business money. You want to optimise your efficiency - and it can be a lot more creative and about improving quality than you would ever think.
Manage Risk! Whether your business believes it's in the Exxon Valdez stakes, it can certainly be at risk of falling foul of a growing body of environmental legislation. And being seen as a convicted polluter can have all sorts of impacts in terms of whether you come to be seen as a supplier of choice by your corporate customers - many of whom are now beginning to consider supply chain issues in their own environmental policies.
What are the issues?
- Contribution to greenhouse gas emissions through energy use and other parts of your process
- Use of raw materials, both nonrenewable resouces which by definition are not sustainable in the long term, and as importantly renewable resources which are produced in a fashion which is not currently sustainable.
- Potential for environmental accidents - releases of pollutants into air, water or land.