What companies can pledge or start this World Environment Day?
“There is no planet B” many of us might have read, seen, or heard. The statement is bold and makes you think, but we often go back to life as usual and forget about it. Former US President Donald Trump didn’t believe in climate change, but all his arguments are out of place with reality. In the context of India, we saw one of the worst heat waves in decades, grain production decreased (3%) due to vagaries of climate, many parts had unusual rains, and things don’t seem normal anymore!
Companies are also feeling the heat across the sectors: FMCG, oil & gas, paint, and electronics. Shocks for each industry might be different, but all the shocks are related to climate change in one way or another. That is why the call to act on climate change must be taken by companies seriously, as people on an individual level are already taking action toward a more sustainable environment.
The obvious question is will environmental sustainability hurt the company’s bottom line? The answer is NO, as existing and potential consumers are becoming more aware and demanding environmental sustainability. They are biased towards environmentally sustainable companies. If companies don’t take action, eventually, they will become irrelevant and go out of business or won’t be able to scale.
We believe companies can start their journey towards environmentally sustainable by adapting practices
Making factory/office zero-waste campus
This is a ‘walk the talk’ approach. By making a factory/office zero-waste campus, you are mapping waste generation, types, and ways to manage waste responsibly. Many hotels have started saving costs on cooking gas as they are now producing cooking gas using the food waste generated in a hotel; companies are making compost from food waste which again goes to the garden. There are many such examples where companies are making their campus zero waste and at the same time finding new opportunities to save cost!
Encouraging process innovation
Environment sustainability is also about increasing efficiency by reducing waste and process innovation. Automobile companies save 2%-3% of manufacturing costs through process innovation. This approach requires genuine buy-in from top management and people on the ground. This approach may take time to show tangible results, but everyone is surprised once the results are visible as it has a compounding effect. You might already implement process innovation through the six-sigma, kaizen, or zero defect approach.
Running sustainability employee program
These programs are an excellent way to increase employee-company engagement beyond work relations. Such programs also further the company mission and result in employees feeling connected & staying longer with companies. Few employee sustainability programs are employee e-waste & plastic waste collection drives, clean-up drives, and zero waste company events.
Compliance with waste rules
Companies need to look beyond waste management rules (e-waste & plastic) as a mere compliance issue. The bigger picture is to formalize the informal sector so that maximum material is recovered and brought into reuse, reducing the burden on natural resources. Indeed, companies who understand this and take steps towards going beyond compliance and doing the right thing have an advantage.
You might already be doing a few things mentioned. Let’s start doing things that remain!
Happy Environment Day!!