More businesses than ever are taking their moral responsibilities seriously and adopting an eco-friendly ethos. Any small step is a start and smaller businesses may be able to implement green policies relatively easily, such as encouraging recycling among employees, using video conferencing to reduce employee travel, purchasing hybrid vehicles for employees to use and for deliveries, using sustainable goods and materials wherever possible, and installing solar panels or other means of generating renewable energy.
Larger, international corporations should be able to make even more of a difference. Businesses can aim to sell greener products and use sustainable resources and processes in their production. Many large businesses have already publicly committed to sustainable forestry techniques in their use of wood, have adopted eco-friendly manufacturing processes, and publicly committed to reduce their emissions, waste, and their overall carbon footprint. Larger businesses can also look at investing in research into eco-friendly practices, solar and wind energy or underground energy storage, or philanthropic projects locally or internationally.
Philanthropy in this case is about improving the lives of others so that they in turn can become self-sufficient, independent, and contribute to the wellbeing of the planet. The Bayat Foundation is a non-profit organization, which entrepreneur and philanthropist established alongside his wife in 2005. With the help of its donors, the Bayat Foundation has developed water wells, improving the water situation in Afghanistan to benefit local communities, has developed hospitals and schools, and contributed to many other serious social needs. The Bayat Foundation is involved with the enhancement of women’s rights and legal services, and Afghanistan’s orphans.
Ehsanollah Bayat is the founder of the Afghan Wireless Communication Company, helping his country to rebuild its infrastructure after the devastating consequences of war, and he has also established a television and radio network reaching 20 million Afghans, concentrating on health care and issues that affect women. Being involved in philanthropic projects is a worthwhile strategy for international businesses to adopt and another approach to consider.
If it seems that adopting sustainable practices and committing to the sustainability of our planet seems like too big a step, will involve too much change, planning, resources or expense, or is logistically too big, businesses should be aware that not only is it a moral obligation, financially they cannot afford not to. Reducing emissions, preventing or eliminating waste, and increasing energy efficiency, means a more profitable business and enhanced competitiveness. Research has shown that companies that commit to doing more with less have the financial edge over their competitors. This means objectives such as zero harmful emissions, the use of renewable resources only, and zero waste, are goals that all international businesses should aspire to.
International businesses can and should be truly green, as should all businesses. By contributing to the sustainability of our planet, they are fulfilling their moral and social obligations, and will find that the rewards are financial as well as immensely satisfying for staff, employees and customers alike.