Climate change is coming. That’s not true, climate change is here are we need to act quickly to avert disaster on a global scale. We all must play our part, lifestyle, recycling, and travel habits are all key to the solution. But there is only so much impact individuals can have. We need to look to large-scale industrial changes to see the essential changes we need as a species to survive and thrive.
Is business going to change for the good of the planet? Well, it must, but it’s not likely all will change their ways without some persuasion. Government legislation must be part of the strategy. Cutting tax breaks for fossil fuel production would be a start. But also encouraging clean energy use. Incentives to use renewables are a good start, and many places are beginning to implement a legal requirement for solar electricity production with new construction projects.
There should be a serious consideration to highlight the positive business case for green behavior, as well as punishing non-compliance. A significant advantage of sustainable practices is the excellent PR it creates. Consumers are increasingly interested in the green credentials of the companies providing their products and services. If businesses learn how to emphasize these behaviors in their PR and promotional activities, it can have a real impact on the balance sheet.
As well as having an impact on sales good PR being environmentally friendly creates, there are also objective advantages to looking after our habitat. If we look at it on a local scale, we can see how protecting the land can reduce adverse weather and flooding making everyone’s operations easier. Doing things well such as livestock nutrition can create a better-quality animal product while keeping harmful emissions low, so it’s a classic win-win scenario.
One area that could help is the consideration of land use. Many businesses have land they own or lease, and it’s not always the case that every part of the property is in use. There could be an opportunity to reward businesses for making green use of these neglected spaces. Renewable energy production could be a winner, businesses could install wind turbines or solar panels for their electricity. Any excess energy can be sold back to the grid at a profit. Other uses of spare land could include tree planting to create oxygen if the land will be available for a substantial period.
We may be surprised at some of the barriers we might face to solving this problem. Attitudes are one, there is a shrinking, but still sizeable, portion of the public who are climate skeptics. These individuals see being allowed to use fossil fuels and unsustainable behavior as a civil right. To deal with these individuals we need to work on making the option of polluting practices to be so uneconomical that it just doesn’t happen. We also need to ensure this is a global solution as it’s a global problem. If we simply ban gas and diesel vehicles, but they are all exported to developing countries, then the impact of these measures is lessened.
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