Let’s face it – there’s nothing green about certain dirty businesses. It’s for the most part, a mass polluting mess, the modern-day equivalent of a chimney stack on top of a Dickensian workhouse. Yet people haven’t changed much when it comes to attitudes towards pollution, despite what An Inconvenient Truth will have you believe.
Instead of making major changes to fix the climate catastrophe, human beings simply try to adapt to their increasingly catastrophic circumstances. While that was fine when the weather changed of its own accord, the picture becomes different when humans hold the fate of the planet in their hands.
We pollute en masse, largely ignorant of the consequences of our actions. But while the general population is generally at fault, a large amount of blame can be laid at the feet of big business.
Major corporations pollute without much care for wider environmental concerns. Oil corporations, in particular, spend most of their time looking for a new source of income, and no time wondering what the wider repercussions of their search could be. And as the polar icecaps melt and the residents of eastern countries walk the streets wearing gas masks, companies shrug and continue on their quest to increase the wealth of their shareholders.
According to Naomi Klein, world famous author and political activist, this is the same as it ever was, but the machinery of greed has been validated by the rise of free market capitalism. Companies which hop from country to country, seeking cheaper wages and more resources to exploit, are congratulated for their profit margins rather than castigated for their wasteful attitudes.
But none of this means that businesses operating on a smaller scale can’t make a difference. If the majority of them learned the values of frugality and avoided finite resources, the world would be in a better shape.
The SME solution
Instead of moving to a larger warehouse which takes up more energy, a thriving company could purchase an economical warehouse mezzanine floor and save energy in the process.
Likewise, a wasteful energy plan could be replaced with renewable energy, cutting bills and cleaning up the environment.
All this can be added to a few more basic solutions like a recycling plan and the utilisation of renewable resources. And not only are they effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint, they’re a perfect way to enjoy positive PR in your business.
Many companies have thrived from this kind of business model. Profitable enterprises like Lush, the cosmetic and hygiene manufacturer which has won various awards for ethics in business, have managed to minimise its carbon footprint and still make plenty of cash.
It’s a lesson that more businesses could learn from. In both workplace design and foundational business model, there are plenty of ways to turn your business from wasteful to resourceful.