The Impact of Social Responsibility on the Environment

Authored by: R.Ş. Topal , A. Öngen

The Ashgate Research Companion to Corporate Social Responsibility

Print publication date:  August  2008
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754647775
eBook ISBN: 9781315612843
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043812

10.4324/9781315612843.ch7

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Abstract

The environment could be said to be a kind of trust on behalf of anyone with children or who has a stake in future generations or who values the ability of the earth to support life. But environmental good practice is also about business efficiency. It is about the best use of valuable raw materials, and feeding the benefits of action straight through to the bottom line. It is tied up in how you source your raw materials and what the impact is upon the environment of their extraction. It is tied up in the quantity of water you use. And it is underlined by the amount of environmental risk you take. If you get it wrong, the costs can be high. The need for global action is increasingly leading governments to begin, through taxation, to price more highly the essential resources which need preserving. Maintain your dependence on these resources too long, and you can find your competitors leaving you behind. A growing body of environmental legislation also threatens to present you with fines and a damaged reputation for any environmental incidents on one of your sites. And in any case, if you have not studied your processes to identify where waste occurs, you are probably losing out on around 1 per cent of your overall turnover that could be switched straight from the trash heap to the bottom line.

From the aspect of customer benefit, customers are becoming increasingly demanding. As awareness of the global scale of environmental problems grows, they are looking for companies to present them with purchasing decisions which can be taken without compromising the future.

From the aspect of cost reduction, there is wasted energy, wasted water, raw materials that are paid for and then thrown away, and the risk of environmental accidents which lead to fines. All these are costing your business money. People want to optimise their efficiency; meeting this need can be creative while producing an improvement in quality.

From the aspect of risk management, whether or not your business believes it is a responsible one, it can certainly be at risk of falling foul of a growing body of environmental legislation. And being seen as a convicted polluter can have all sorts of impacts in terms of whether you come to be seen as a supplier of choice by your corporate customers, many of whom are now beginning to consider supply chain issues in their own environmental policies.

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