How businesses can stimulate positive environmental change

| 23rd March 2018
Logging

Decisions by companies in the US and Europe can impact the amount of deforestation in the Amazon, Brazil. 

Shutterstock
Business leaders have taken some initiatives to reduce the impact they have on the natural environment. Here, EMILY FOLK examines how a company can make a difference in the office - and beyond.

Taking care of the earth benefits everyone. It makes employees feel good about the place they work and the values it holds.

Many people do their part to make the world a greener place. They recycle, they take shorter showers, and they bring their own bags to the grocery store. But the home isn’t the only place where environmental initiatives can make a difference.

Businesses should take some responsibility for positive change, too. And, fortunately, there are so many ways for a company to do so, whether they’re working in their local communities or helping developing areas to begin their own green programs. Here’s how to do it:

A business’s green pursuits typically start within their own walls. This is especially true for companies whose employees follow their own stringent set of eco-friendly guidelines at home. 

Public transportation

It’s easy for other organisations to begin through decreasing waste in their supply closets: how much of your office must-haves are refillable or recycled? Swap one-time-use pens for those with refillable ink, and use as many recycled paper products as possible.

Send as much correspondence via email as possible, rather than printing and mailing. Even consider hiring a green cleaning service to prevent harmful chemicals from being in your building.

To take this effort a step further, you could organise a waste audit, too. The University of Montana led their own review to see if new recycling bins in their residence halls made a difference or not.

They weren’t sure if students from faraway areas knew the local recycling process, so they made an effort to increase awareness and, in turn, boost usage of the new bins. Your company might audit office supply usage to see which departments are wasteful and use that information to come up with a more sustainable usage plan.

Another way companies can go green is through encouraging their employees to bike or walk to work or try to take public transportation. Facebook has even offered a $10,000 bonus to employees for moving closer to the corporate office to reduce the number of employees who drove to work.

Country’s ecosystem

There are plenty of other sustainable changes to make to an office environment, and many of them are similar to the ones you can make at home. It’s clear how an environmentally friendly effort within your business would improve the community outside of your company’s walls, too. 

A business with the means can have a hand in environmentally friendly practices abroad, too. This is especially true when a company’s pursuits have them building business outlets in developing nations, where operations might be cheaper. It’s vital to give back and help the local area to build infrastructure that promotes green practices as industry expands there.

WebpageFX, a digital marketing agency located in Harrisburg, PA improves developing areas through their FXBuilds program. Through FXBuilds, they give back to communities around the world by providing access to clean water, vaccines, shelter, education and other basics available to Americans that aren’t always accessible abroad.

Shane Jones, Director of Earned Media at WebpageFX, said: “We feel that, by doing our part to improve the quality of life for people in developing countries, we can also improve the way those people impact their local environments. For example, the restrooms FXBuilds has helped to install in countries around the world are likely to improve local environments by reducing the amount of waste runoff nearby.”

Ensuring that business initiatives abroad meet production standards at home is another way to stimulate positive environmental change. In Brazil, eight multinational organisations have banded together to see how their businesses affect the country’s ecosystem. Well-known brands like Walmart and Pepsi Co. are part of the effort.

Industrial practices

Walmart has focused its efforts on preventing deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. They supply some of their beef from Brazil, and many ranchers cut down trees to create pasture space for their cattle. With this in mind, Walmart hopes to remove deforestation from its supply chain completely. It’s clear how this would have a positive effect on a developing community.

Every business’s ability reduce its impact on a developing nation will vary, of course. But having an awareness of how our industrial practices affect communities abroad is a great place to start.   

Taking care of the earth benefits everyone. It makes employees feel good about the place they work and the values it holds. It gives the local community longevity with more sustainable practices in place. And it helps developing nations to come into an international market with the best foundations in place.

In other words, instilling environmentally friendly practices within your office can spur positive change in so many realms. The effort to put them in place is more than worth it.  

This Author

Emily Folk is a conservation and sustainability writer and the editor of Conservation Folks.

Help us keep The Ecologist working for the planet

The Ecologist website is a free service, published by The Resurgence Trust, a UK-based educational charity. We work hard - with a small budget and tiny editorial team - to bring you the wide-ranging, independent journalism we know you value and enjoy, but we need your help. Please make a donation to support The Ecologist platform. Thank you!

Donate to us here