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Monday, October 2, 2023

Life + Arts

LIVING GREEN: Businesses face conundrum about going green

Incorporating environmental efforts into business practices can be a controversial subject, and opinions on what businesses should do vary.

Some people believe that businesses should neutralize their impacts on the environment.

Education sophomore Michael Harding feels that when companies expand, they should equally expand their efforts to be environmentally conscious.

‘It’s ridiculous that man is a bully of the animal world,’ Harding said. ‘

Harding said businesses should respect the all aspects of the environment, from small insects to the entire ecosystem.

Harding is not alone.

Dozens of environmental protection groups do work from conserving forests to protecting sea life.

Some of these groups and individuals feel corporations should operate with a smaller carbon footprint, and they believe that some businesses attempt to.’

There are also those who believe that keeping or attracting customers is the real reason businesses have started going green.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the idea that firms should incorporate sustainable values into their businesses.

‘ ‘I think corporate social responsibility is derived from a consumer-driven economy,’ finance junior Kris McDaniel said.

As more and more people support a cleaner, healthier environment, they are looking to do business with firms that share similar values.

Some businesses may feel pressured to adopt greener, more-sustainable practices to stay competitive.

While some companies are truly making efforts to change, others use marketing to make it appear as though they’ve made adjustments.

‘Greenwash’ is a term used to describe a claim of a product or an organization to be green, when in fact it is not.

A universal definition of CSR, on the other hand, does not exist, so businesses don’t have standards to follow.

Difficulty in calculating and verifying efforts may be the reason why some oppose comparing CSR measures. One company’s small efforts may be viewed as insignificant by another. In addition to these concerns, some wonder if CSR really pays off.

‘You’d be surprised how much money some companies have saved by going green,’ futures studies graduate student Morgan Kauffman said.

Kauffman named several ways companies are successfully helping the environment while cutting costs.

One way companies can go green is to switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). ‘

CFLs initially cost more and require a different disposal than regular bulbs, but users save money in the long run because CFLs use less energy and last longer.

‘An ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulb will save about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself in about 6 months,’ ENERGY STAR officials said on the company’s Web site.’ ‘It uses 75 percent less energy and lasts about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb.’

Long-term planning can help incorporate efficient, environmental and sustainable efforts into a company’s future.’

A transition to CFLs may save even more money when energy prices rise.

Planning for the future also helps prepare for issues that may arise when implementing cost-saving, eco-friendly practices.

In the end, the decision to go green may be the most challenging part of environmental and sustainable business planning.

‘Forethought and efficient designs save money’hellip; and sometimes, the environment,’ Kauffman said.’ ‘The biggest problem is getting people to stop doing things business-as-usual and start thinking ahead.’

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