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The Historical Impact of Businesses on the Environment

Discuss about the Green Management for Sustainable Business Practice.

 Since the industrial revolution which occurred approximately 250 years ago, human beings have been undertaking actions that affect the balance of nature. Before the industrial revolution, the human being’s actions were local and regional; they were not global (Renwick, Redman & Maguire, 2013). Today the effect is universal and even though the notion may be hard to accept, over the years the earth has undergone variations (Clapp, 2014). Businesses depend on and affect the natural world. However, historians neglect the relationship between business and environment in light of extraction of raw materials, management of resources and generation of waste (Morris, 2013). Enterprises use natural resources without limits, and this has led to environmental changes which include global warming, famines, earthquakes, and tsunamis.

The changes have affected people's lives, and people have changed their perception of the environment which has gathered substantial public support. Different environmental movements have been established and for the current environmentalists, it is not only the natural environment that is at risk, but human survival in general. Scientists argue that human activities that negatively affect the environment are unsustainable and this has led to a global notion of the sustainable development. Businesses are morally and ethically obligated to protect the environment by undertaking sustainable practices. Many companies have taken this responsibility by promoting green and sustainable practices (Planko, 2017). They are also encouraging customers to follow suit. In the environment protection act, corporations are bound by the law to abide by environmental laws. For instance, the clean water act sets a limit to the level of waste that companies can release in water (Hunter & Waterman, 2016). Some companies must follow these regulations failure to which will cause closure. For example, oil companies should be approved for new offshore oil wells and coal companies must also give the government reports about their environmental safety practices (Bateh, 2013). Businesses have also adopted green energy which is focused on reducing waste and cutting down the usage of fossil fuels. Examples of green energy include electric cars, wind turbines, and solar power. Organizations save when they adopt the green policies and some policies based on green may attract tax deductions. Moreover, when a business adopts green energy policies, it acts as a role model to other companies and its customers. It increases awareness to the environmental issues.

The Need for Sustainable Practices

As mentioned, earlier environmental degradation began after the industrial revolution because businesses produced huge quantities of waste. The demand for land has also increased, leading to deforestation, exhaustion of resources and filling up landfills (Silvius & Planko, 2017). Companies should use recyclable products to reduce this negative impact on the environment. They can also play their role in the environmental protection act by encouraging customers to reduce waste. For example, they can offer a discount to any customer who uses reusable bags or they can provide recycling bins at the business (Mason & Winkelman, 2017). These actions can improve the company’s brand image boosting participation in the environmental protection movement. Businesses should also offer incentives for waste such as charging fees for plastic bags. Enterprises are vigilant with the promotion of their products, and they can do the same to raise awareness on the environmental issues; not to only boost environmental safety, but to also promote the business’s brand image (Charles, Schmidheiny & Watts, 2017). For example, a business can have a weekly promotion giving customers a free or discounted item for bringing a reusable box or bag. The company could educate people on environmental issues or sponsor a community garden. Even though the kind of promotion may depend on the nature of the business customers who are conscious of the environment are likely to give the business a priority.

Today the world is dealing with issues such as pollution, water contamination and climate change. Businesses and the public, in general, have to maintain and keep the environment clean. A green business is a smart business since green policies do not only save on cost, but they give the business a competitive advantage. The company is proactive addressing the new environmental demands from their suppliers and customers while also abiding by the new legislation. When a business has a strong environmental program, it also attracts qualified employees and highly skilled staff to offer quality customer service (Kiron, Kruschwitz, Reeves & Goh, 2013). Green enterprises conduct their day to day operations to meet their needs without undermining the ability of future generations to accomplish their own goals such as compromising corporate social responsibility to make more profit.


Every year, new laws concerning the environment are passed on federal, state and local levels since scientists are still uncovering new developments of the Earth’s ecology. Going green means seeing ahead and the company should cover all aspects since even though some laws are not yet in the books they will be soon and the companies should be ready. For example, the environmental protection agency established its 2020 action agency whose primary aim is reducing carbon emissions while boosting sustainability (Ravetz, 2016). This act will enforce actionable consequences and businesses that will be ahead of the green curve will receive incentives. This stresses the importance of going green as early as possible.

Legal Obligations for Businesses to Protect the Environment

Customers trust businesses that adopt green policies. Most clients have acclaimed that they would pay more for sustainable products (Tseng & Hung, 2013). Green enterprises show customers what the earth means to them fostering a sense of community and a good impression of the business (Michaels, 2013). This will strengthen the current customer base and extend its market share. People who may not have heard of the company may be interested due to its eco-friendly products and practices.

Going green does not only influence customers but also employees since they feel safer working for a business that adopts green policies. Employees are motivated when they are involved in green initiatives, and they feel that their health is taken care of and are not just expendable resources (Clair & Milliman, 2017). This also boosts turnover since employees are contented and satisfied, they cannot leave a company that makes feel to be part of a community that cares. By depicting their commitment to the environment, businesses show that they care about their stakeholders and the world as a whole which makes the employees proud.

Going green is now being used as a trademark and as a status symbol of businesses that are eco-friendly. Some years back, the Dell Company Initiated a program for recycling that allows customers to get rid of the products that are difficult to recycle. Honda vehicle manufacturing company is also known for going green since it optimizes fuel efficiency (Bag, Anand & Pandey, 2017). Going green has given these companies a competitive advantage over other big companies in the categories. Even though going green is expensive, in the long run, green policies pay back in the long run, in terms of dividends and not only concerning money but regarding satisfaction knowing that it is supporting the planet.

Nonetheless, it is not only businesses that should be obligated to undertake green policies, but in their day to day lives, people should participate in the environmental movements. For example, they should use recycle bags and boxes, plant trees, conserve water and reduce the usage of chemicals.


Employees are a significant resource for the business and involving them in the movement to go green nurtures a motivated, dynamic and productive workforce. Moreover, a company cannot achieve its green movement and sustainability goals without the employees’ support. Hence employees should be involved in the process and a major to do this is by acting as a role model. Adoption of green practices should start from the senior management since they act as role models for the employees. Senior managers should be the forts to use recyclable bags. For a business to engage employees in their quest for sustainability, it should focus on solving issues that the employees experience in their daily lives. The business should make sustainability personal by creating the best environment and incentives for employee engagement, by localizing it, making it voluntary, and illustrating the effect of the action. The business should also respond to the employees’ ideas and reward employees for success on sustainability, building a culture of innovation around sustainability goals and objectives.

Green Energy and Recycling as Tools for Environmental Protection

The company can create a team of volunteers from the employees to focus on building a  green culture and business, coming up with ways of going green. Employees feel valued since the industry adopts their ideas and they also feel motivated since they push for positivity in the company. There is a lot of information on the internet about going green, and as they implement the ideas, the staff may be overwhelmed. The company should thus come up with written policies highlighting the expectations which will assist the team in making their decisions. The corporate values should also capture the environmental and social goals which will guide the employees.


For employees to easily embrace the environmental policies, they should be incorporated into the business’ day to day operations. For instance, thermostats can be set closer to the outside temperature. The company can use less printing to reduce paper usage. Lights and electronics should be turned off when not in use and the company should also involve consultants and peers to ensure that they ultimately conserve energy and ultimately employ green practices in their operations.

As highlighted earlier, every year, new environmental laws are passed, and as time goes by, scientists are making discoveries of the ecology. Therefore the business should continuously train employees about the sustainability goals and why they matter. Employees should be educated on issues that are specifically associated with their jobs such as health and safety, sustainable procurement and waste management. Employees should also be aware of the new developments concerning law and the discoveries made since it will influence their ideas on sustainability. For the staff to be productive and dedicated to sustainability, they have to know how sustainability affects them (Renwick, Redman & Maguire, 2013). In this light, those working in the financial sector should be aware of the savings made from investments in energy efficient equipment. Sales representatives should be aware of how volunteering in a local community builds customer loyalty and managers should be aware of how sustainability builds the brand’s reputation and image.

References

Bag, S., Anand, N., & Pandey, K. K. (2017). Green Supply Chain Management Model for Sustainable Manufacturing Practices. In Green Supply Chain Management for Sustainable Business Practice (pp. 153-189). IGI Global.

Bateh, J., Heaton, C., Arbogast, G. W., & Broadbent, A. (2013). Defining sustainability in the business setting. Journal of Sustainability Management, 1(1), 1.

Charles Jr, O. H., Schmidheiny, S., & Watts, P. (2017). Walking the talk: The business case for sustainable development. Routledge.

Clair, J., & Milliman, J. (2017). Best environmental HRM practices in the US. In Greening People (pp. 49-73). Routledge.

Clapp, B. W. (2014). An environmental history of Britain since the Industrial Revolution. Routledge.

Hunter, S., & Waterman, R. W. (2016). Enforcing the Law: Case of the Clean Water Acts: Case of the Clean Water Acts. Routledge.

Kiron, D., Kruschwitz, N., Reeves, M., & Goh, E. (2013). The benefits of sustainability-driven innovation. MIT Sloan Management Review, 54(2), 69.

Mason, S. E., & Winkelman, J. J. (2017). Protecting the Environment: Awareness and Responsibility. Journal of Vincentian Social Action, 2(1), 6.

Michaels, M. (2013). The therapeutic benefits of community gardening: An exploration of the impact of community gardens through the lens of community psychology. Alliant International University.

Morris, A. E. J. (2013). History of urban form before the industrial revolution. Routledge.

Ravetz, J. (2016). City-region 2020: integrated planning for a sustainable environment. Routledge.

Renwick, D. W., Redman, T., & Maguire, S. (2013). Green human resource management: A review and research agenda. International Journal of Management Reviews, 15(1), 1-14.

Silvius, G., & Planko, J. (2017). Sustainability in Business. In Sustainability in Project Management (pp. 25-38). Routledge.

Tseng, S. C., & Hung, S. W. (2013). A framework identifying the gaps between customers' expectations and their perceptions in green products. Journal of Cleaner Production, 59, 174-184.

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