Biggest Sustainability Issues in 2011

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Company CEOs are now seeing sustainability not just as a social responsibility, but as a means to lower operational costs, increase profit, and strengthen relationships with customers. According to reports, “93% of [global compact] CEOs see sustainability as important to their business.” This is good news. However, as engaged as many companies are in incorporating sustainability into business approach, 2011 brings new challenges.

Biodiversity is an issue businesses cannot take for granted, for it plays a major role in maintaining license to operate. For example, devastating effects of climate change and irresponsible resource use can lead to reduced population, or worse, the demise of certain species that are essential to numerous industries, like food production. Take bees for example. As natural pollinators, they’re worth over $200 billion annually. Imagine how difficult pollinating flowers of plants and trees would be should their number decrease. Human workers will not be as fast and adept enough to replace them.

Drastic effects of climate change have been extremely felt in 2010 and the previous years. Carbon cut efforts have been employed by businesses to address climate change. However, more research is needed. Countries, like the United States, have started using shale gas as cheaper, natural alternative, but it was later discovered that possible methane leaks can occur, making shale gas’s greenhouse gas footprint even worse than that of fuel and coal.

The search for the best source of renewable energy (RE) has also sparked a lot of debates. In the Philippines, for example, a lot of factors still need to be considered before RE generation can fully take off. Huge investments and high maintenance costs are needed to create RE sources, but with discouraging outputs. Its Northwind facility, which cost about $55 million to setup in 2003, generates only about 3-4 megawatts of power, instead of the intended 33 megawatts, due to wind’s unpredictability. The country’s Department of Energy, however, remains optimistic, expecting about 95 billion pesos (approximately $2.1 billion in today's currency conversion) worth of investments in RE projects in the country in the coming years.

Digital empowerment will increase transparency in business operations. Gone are the days when business operations and marketing strategies are kept indoors and away from public scrutiny. The use of mobile phones, the Internet, and social media networks have increased in staggering figures, allowing consumers to closely monitor working conditions and approve or dismiss marketing or branding changes. This can have positive or negative effects to companies, depending on how they handle such “leaks”.

Despite such issues, GoodEarth Products offers top-notch sustainability approaches to reduce business costs which ultimately can increase a company’s overall profits.

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