When humans entered the industrial age, it was seen as a huge step forward. Sure, it had a negative impact on those who made their livelihoods hand-crafting items, but it also benefited a lot of people as well. Goods could be manufactured faster and more cost-effectively and so became more accessible.
There was a huge negative to this new industrial age, one that we are still feeling the effects of today. Back then, and until very recently environmental responsibility was not a concept that was practiced widely or even properly understood.
It is only today that we are getting an inkling of how much damage our manufacturing processes have been doing. In a world where the business case meant doing things as inexpensively as possible, creating sustainable and eco-friendly manufacturing processes was way down on the list of priorities.
It is only recently that businesses have started to stand up and take their corporate environmental responsibility
What is Corporate Environmental Responsibility?
This is something that environmental organizations have been debating for many years now. Generally, though, corporate environmental responsibility means ensuring that the company’s manufacturing, processing, and distribution practices are sustainable and low impact.
In other words, companies have a duty to ensure that their business has as little negative impact on the environment as possible. This means finding ways to reduce the pollution that they create and to ensure that their processes are environmentally sustainable.
Take the cotton industry, for example. Cotton is not considered a sustainable textile. Processing it requires the use of a lot of water and growing it is tough on the environment as well.
Bamboo, on the other hand, scores points as being a lot more sustainable because it grows faster, needs less room and is easier to process.
Social Responsibility of Business
The social responsibility of business is something that relates to how the business impacts the communities that it is a part of. For example, if a company is paying its workers below minimum wage and making them work in unsafe conditions, it is not being socially responsible.
Social responsibility means taking care of those who work for and making a positive impact on the community that supports your business as well.
Modern Attitudes Regarding the Environment
In the past, environmental concerns came a distant second to profit motives. So companies thought nothing of dumping waste where they liked, or pumping effluent into rivers, for example. It was quicker and easier to do this.
While there are still companies who do think this way, the focus is shifting more to doing business in a more environmentally-friendly manner.
Changing consumer attitudes are mostly to thank for this new attitude on the part of business. Fifty years ago, consumers didn’t really care where their goods came from and how they were made. They didn’t understand the potential damage to the environment.
Today’s consumer is a lot more educated about these issues and a lot more proactive about voicing their opinions in these matters. Companies who ignore environmental concerns do so at their own risk, especially in the age of social media.
Consumers can choose to actively boycott offenders, and there is also the possibility of harsh penalties being imposed.
For today’s small business, finding a more sustainable way to manufacture their product is essential. It can help to give them an edge in establishing a loyal customer following.