There is the urgent need for an environmentally-friendly recycling plant
The theme for this year’s World Environment Day is “A Green Economy- Are You Included.” It is an appropriate theme because it seems to suggest that there is need for greater environmental consideration in global and local economic activities. Globalization appeared to have virtually removed the dividing line between the global and the local communities. The world is one.
It is one big global village, a shared social space, where environmental problems are more fluid affecting everyone, everywhere on the earth. Climate change, global warming, the pollution of our air and seas, the destruction of coral reefs and other aspects of biodiversities and the general ecology is not confined to one country; it affect every village, every community in the world.
The theme calls for a better balance between economics and good environmental stewardship. The question is which one comes first- economics or the environment?
Whichever way we look at it corporations and businesses do have a very vital role to play in facilitating a green economy. To achieve such an economy corporations must have as a serious priority environmental responsibility.
During the industrial revolution of the 19th century business was concerned with profit making and had little interference from the authorities. However, the concept of social responsibility came to the fore during the 1960s in response to society’s changing values.
In developed countries, the public policy debates of the 60s and 70s raised awareness of social issues. Prominent social issues surfaced including the environment and product safety. Businesses were forced to not only engaged in social causes but also consider the social consequences of their economic activities. Therefore, business evolved from a purely economic instrument to a socioeconomic one.
As it now stands, corporations are viewed as not only economic institutions but also social institutions. As such corporations have responsible to society. Thus, they have an obligation to solve some of society’s problems and to devote some of their resources to the solution of these problems.
Notwithstanding that, Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize- winning economist, believed that corporations have no responsibility to society that goes beyond adhering to the law and maximizing profits for its shareholders.
Even in that, Friedman did not suggest that corporate charitable giving be reduced if the activity contributed to profit making. Indeed, being perceived as socially and environmentally responsibility can attract customers and employees- an investment that increases future profitability.
In this period of human development, every organization must assume full responsibility for its impact on the environment- the way they use natural resources to manufacture and distribute their products to their customers. They must also account for their approach to waste management.
In Guyana, waste management is becoming increasingly unmanageable. Plastic, including PET bottles constitute a major public health nuisance in many local communities. Plastic is suffocating the environment. It puts at risk the health of animals, birds and marine life. It is bad for the ecological system.
Much of the plastic we see in drains and on parapets were used as wrappings or packaging materials for certain products. Many of the Styrofoam boxes on roadways were used by fast food outlets and other food shops to serve their customers.
Corporate social responsibility provides for businesses to plan not only to sell their products and make a profit but also to account for the way of those products. This is important because in some cases, the waste from certain products has a greater impact on the environment than the actual product.
However, this challenge also presents an investment opportunity for business- recycling. There is the urgent need for an environmentally friendly recycling plant to effectively manage the abundance of plastic tossed about our communities.
The utility of such an investment is not only in monetary profits but also in protecting the environment. This in itself will allow businesses to give back to society. Imagine how different our communities would look if we could only remove the plastic bottles and other non biodegradable materials from our environment. Imagine the impact such an environment would have on your neighbourhoods and communites.