The world’s progress was accelerated exponentially by the industrial revolution, and since then we have seen it change rapidly in a matter of no time. Innovation became the order of the day and products and services were always on the look out for something new, something exciting. As the world around us advanced, as a community we couldn’t be more ignorant of the direction of our progress and whether or not it was in consonance with the overall health of the planet.
In no time (if seen in relation to the timeline of the earth’s existence), we managed to do some very serious damage to the planet, and majorly irreversible ones. The climate crisis we are facing today stands as a bare example of how the global economy we have built over the past century is not sustainable and has been killing the planet. Rampant consumerism and mindless expansion have left it with depleting resources and a growing gap between the rich and the poor.
The Environmental revolution has come a long way in changing the ways of the world, even if by small measures. Back in the 70s, when environmental concerns had begun to surface, most people including leading business executives refused to believe in an approaching threat. However, some very undeniable developments like melting glaciers, drying lakes and uncontrollable forest fires forced them to accept these global changes and come to the conclusion that steps need to be taken to break the chain of reactions set off.
The strive for sustainability has made businesses change their ways to ensure zero impact on the climate. However, now we collectively need to aim for a positive impact on the ecology to reverse some of the damages done hitherto. For the same, we first need to understand the challenges to sustainability that we are facing today. The three major challenges that stand in our way today are pollution, depletion and poverty.
The formula for a sustainable world:
Environmentalists like Paul Ehrlich and Barry Commoner came up with a simple formula to determine the total environmental impact by a nation and how to bring it down. According to them the net environmental burden (EB) relies on three factors- population (P), affluence (A)- a metric for consumption and technology (T). Reducing these three factors would eventually bring down environmental burden and make sustainability achievable to a large extent.
Here’s how you can manoeuvre your business to bring down these three factors of environmental burden from your end.
- Prevent pollution-This has two stages- one, minimising the production of waste from the manufacturing process itself and two, ensuring a safe disposal of the waste created. There are companies focussed in assisting with reducing emissions such as Aeroquip that have helped companies in developing nations significantly in nor repeating the mistakes of the western countries in their own industrial advancement.
- Product Stewardship- These focusses on removing pollution not just from the manufacturing process of a product but its entire life cycle, down to disposal. There is a drive towards using reusable or recyclable material, use of clean energy alternatives and a full analysis of how customers will use and dispose it.
- Invest in clean technology- Most of the technology we use today is not environmentally viable. In agriculture-based economies, there is still a heavy reliance upon chemicals and pesticides and fertilizers that are toxic to the soil and water. Urban pollution has also reached alarming levels in developing nations. Hence, there is an urgent need to replace current technologies with better alternatives.