If there’s one thing businesses struggle with, it’s maintaining an air of social responsibility. In a world of corporate greed and unfettered capitalism, the free market reigns – and any notion of social enterprise, particularly when it comes to the environment, is placed on the backburner.
It’s a problem we’ve covered in this blog before – but there’s still little sign of change from governments and businesses.
December 2015 marked major environmental talks in Paris between leading heads of state, one heralded by attendees as a major step forward for eco-concerns. But the praise hasn’t been universal.
The talks, intended to establish a viable predecessor to the Kyoto Protocol, have been called a “triumph of mediocrity” by Spiked columnist Ben Pile.
The problem? It didn’t go far enough. Governments agreed to cut carbon emissions however they pleased, rather than reaching a real consensus. In short, it wasn’t an agreement at all.
Hypocrisy from governments
Without any kind of protocol in place, heads of state can continue to favour capitalism over the environment.
In Britain, for instance, The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) is expected to cut subsidies for solar panels by up to 90 per cent, a move announced only a few days after the Paris climate talks ended.
Instead of green measures being bolstered, funds are being funnelled into oil mining in Scotland, fracking in England and Britain’s first nuclear power station in over a decade.
Governments, then, appear to have found a way to make it look like they’re doing far more than they actually are when it comes to the environment.
But green concerns can be tackled without the help of world leaders, albeit on a smaller scale. With collective action, the rapid pace of climate change could be slowed.
Becoming the force of change
As was alluded to in the first paragraph, businesses can be the real force for change if they choose to be. What can they do?
Even minor improvements can help in a small business. If you’re the owner of an SME, invest in a few office plants (we’d recommend this company for great service) to further oxygenate your workplace. Thanks to photosynthesis, plants will “breathe in” carbon dioxide and “breathe out” oxygen, offsetting much of the waste in your company.
To go even further, reduce waste by cutting down on paper, car journeys and electricity. You could even persuade your employees to ride bicycles to work, or get the bus instead of using their company cars.
As governments continue to frustrate green activists with their refusal to help the environment in a meaningful way, your business could become a pioneer in eco-concerns. So consider how you can cut back on wasteful resources.