Research, identify and discuss some of the environmental issues faced by business and society as well as at least two strategic approaches organizations are using to respond to these issues.
Several years ago environmental issues were rarely a concern in business management and its operations and in the society at large. Currently, there is a persistent and agreeable opinion that operating an environmentally friendly business is a top priority for any business whose operations and activities are nationwide and international. Therefore and as Carrol and Butchholtz (2014) point out, environmental issues have become critical aspects in business progress and societal growth whose constant understanding and review guarantees a successful business and transformed society.
Blair and Hitchcock, (2004) identifies climate change as one of the major issues facing business and society today. Climate change refers to a change in average weather conditions, or in the time variations of weather around longer time average conditions. Climate change is caused by factors such as biotic processes, variations in solar radiations, volcanic eruptions as well as diverse human activities that have significantly resulted to global warming. Climate change is a global problem requiring a global solution and with extreme and unpredictable weather conditions, such as floods, droughts and tornados giving businesses and societies great challenges that need to be effectively addressed.
Air pollution is another environmental issue affecting business and society. Air pollution is majorly manmade and refers to releasing of harmful materials into the earth’s atmosphere that may cause diseases, death and destruction of living organisms. Human beings, plants and animals die or wither upon continuous contact with various pollutants that have adverse effects on the ecosystem. Recent reports indicate that air pollution causes over seven million deaths around the world every year (Blair and Hitchcock, 2004). The major pollutants of air that are produced by human activity include sulfur oxides produced by various industrial processes, nitrogen oxides which are expelled in high temperature combustion, carbon monoxide which is a odorless toxic gas produced by incomplete combustion of fuel such as natural gas, coal or wood.
Other air pollutants are toxic metals such as mercury, cloloroflocarbons which are harmful to the ozone layer and deplete it overtime, stationary sources such as smoke stacks of power plants, factories, mobile sources such as motor vehicles, marine vessels waste depositions which generate methane into the air. The natural air pollutants include dust, radon from radioactive decay, methane obtained from digestion of food by animals and volcanic activities which produces chlorine and sulphur. Businesses and the societies have devised various mechanisms to minimize the emission of these air pollutants to lower the levels of air pollution that have negative impacts on them.
Waste management also poses a challenge to business and society and involves all the activities and actions expected to be done in waste management and its disposal. Waste management refers to collection, transport, treatment and disposal of waste with good monitoring and regulation. Waste can be generated from processing of raw materials, their extraction and even in the consumption of the final product. Proper waste management aims to reduce the adverse effects that poor processes may have on human health and the environment. There are various concepts of waste management that can be adopted by a business or the society. The waste hierarchy which refers to the three Rs constituting reduce, reuse and recycle helps in waste minimization.
Additionally deforestation is becoming a major factor facing the society and it involves removal of the forest stands converting the land to a non-forest uses such as farm ranches or urban centers. Deforestation is the main cause of various environmental problems such as global warming and reduced biodiversity on natural global scale since forests support biodiversity by providing habitat for wildlife. Destruction of forests and other aspects have direct effects on living of standards especially for individual who rely on forest as sources of water and livestock feeds.
Kao (2010) notes that there are various strategic approaches that businesses and societies can use to cope with various environmental issues. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a working strategy that can be used to get involved in the environmental issues facing the society and the business world. Business organizations and communities may elect to participate in long term solutions for climate change, observing accountability and responsibility when carrying out different activities that may affect the weather, educating people on how to deal with emerging issues such as global warming through seminars, workshops and trainings as well as offering sponsorship programs in order to fund activities that help to reduce harmful impact of various environmental issues.
On the other hand, business and communities should promote proper environment policies and act as role models in preserving the environment through according the environment the respect it deserves. Through the understanding that a conducive and better surrounding yields better living standards, businesses should aspire to use recommended waste management procedures especially the practice of reusing and recycling. Understandingly, the most successful corporations in the world such as Toyota, Microsoft and Google among others have continuously implemented green agenda policies intended to lure the communities to be sensitive to the environment in ensuring its health.
Environmental Issues Faced by Business and Society Essay References
Blair, A. & Hitchcock, D. (2004). Environment and business. New York: Routledge
Carrol, A. & Butchholtz, A. (2014). Business and society: ethics, sustainability, and stakeholder management. Stamford: Cengage Learning
Kao, R. (2010). Sustainable economy: corporate, social and environmental responsibility. Hackensack: World Scientific