The problems faced by environmental challenges are hitting us now more than ever and will only to increase in importance in coming years. The problem with placing the burden on either businesses or government to address this problem is that this is a problem that we all share and it will be nearly impossible to solve without universal cooperation. Laws and regulations are essential to get the ball rolling and encourage the less enthusiastic organizations to join in this cause. These regulations have actually lead to lower levels of pollution in developed countries, compared to the much larger levels of pollution in emerging countries. These advancing countries are actually doing a substantial amount of harm and could offset sustainability advances made in more developed countries. The survival pressures in some economies pushes for short term solutions that have negative long term effects. We need to reduce and stabilize the environmental burden. To do so, companies must shift from pollution control to pollution prevention. When businesses look towards the future, they can plan for what is needed beyond today. So while government can introduce regulations to encourage businesses to reduce their negative impact it is ultimately up to the businesses themselves to strive for a more sustainable operation.
Business should whenever possible aim to move ahead of regulation. With disregard to any negative impact to the environment, companies should still see the benefits of a more sustainable operation. Sustainability is efficient and increased efficiency will lead to a more profitable enterprise. The same strategies that would reduce emissions and lower energy consumption would save the company time and money. Another key point is that in this day and age, consumers are aware of environmental issues and often look for and applaud companies with the initiative to lead the curve of sustainable actions. Since regulations will no doubt be introduced eventually, it is in companies’ best interest to move on sustainable behavior before required to do so because of the benefits to operations.
Energy efficiency and renewable energy are so critical to this trend because the world’s resources are being depleted faster than they can be replenished. Greener business is one thing, but moving towards sustainability is key in ultimate environmental consciousness. The world is at the point where everyone is aware there is a problem. Attempting to fix problems after the fact is no longer an option. Working towards using less energy and using energy that can be used again is what will help the impact of business in a preemptive manner.
Businesses should disclose where they are on the path to a more sustainable future for many reasons. When they do that, the leading companies of this trend will set a precedent for others to follow. It also helps them, because consumers see this and think positively of them. Governments can also see this and will be less likely to hark down on them if it is clear they are on the right track.