The mark of confidence

Since 1969

There has been a relatively stark shift in the way in which issues surrounding the world around us are viewed. People now have much more of an investment in the environment.

The modern view on the environment

Since the 1970s, humanity has approached the health and importance of the environment very differently. While there’s no exact moment which can be credited with the birth of the environmentalist movement, many cite Earth Day as the catalyst for a change in attitudes.

This saw 20 million Americans flock to parks and other areas of natural greenery to promote issues facing both the United States and the rest of the world. The sheer scale of the demonstration was enough to bring environmental concerns to the forefront of a number of political discussions.

Since then, the movement has continued to evolve, with protests, demonstrations and even legal procedures introduced to heighten awareness. There is a continued battle between those who are aware of the impact humanity is having, and those who either don’t believe or continue to ignore it.

For this reason, protests – such as the Global Green Movement’s attack on Donald Trump – have become increasingly normal. Ultimately though, the world is leaning towards an acceptance of the importance of preserving the environment. It’s for this reason businesses have become more aware of their impact.

Harmful substances which are causing damage

People often associate environmental issues with the harmful greenhouse gases which are polluting the air. In reality, there are a number of different substances and actions causing issues for the Earth. Some of the more impactful include:

Exhaust gases – The most commonly acknowledged form of environmental damage, pollutant gases have been damaging the ozone layer in the Earth’s atmosphere for well over a century. These are primarily emitted from industrial buildings and vehicles, and have contributed to a perceived rise in global temperatures. Carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and ammonia are the chief culprits in this regard.

Mining industries – While mining has been less prevalent – especially in the western world – in recent years, it still has a relevancy across some areas of the globe. The process of mining releases particulate matter, which can have a hazardous impact on the human respiratory system.

Deforestation – With a continued need to branch out and find new land for expansion, organisations are sweeping aside areas of natural greenery. The continued removal of trees has had a direct impact on the environment. Trees clean the atmosphere by absorbing carbon dioxide, and also produce oxygen. As their numbers continue to dwindle, the environment becomes increasingly oversaturated with pollutants. Animal habitats are also being destroyed.

Construction levels – Cement and concrete have the undesirable ability of trapping and absorbing heat and pollutants. The unprecedented levels of industrial construction in the past few decades have seen a rapid rise in the number of harmful substances in the immediate atmosphere.

Chemical effluents – A worrying amount of industries produce chemical waste, which is often disregarded without a second thought. Most often, these harmful substances are released into local river streams – endangering both aquatic life and water supplies in that area.

Overpopulation – The increasing population rates have also had an impact on the environment. While most major construction and building projects come as a result of the need to expand, excess levels of waste are also being produced on a regular basis. This all serves to have a detrimental impact.

Public perceptions of a business’ environmental role

Businesses have a responsibility to try and have a positive effect on the environment. People look to corporations to uphold ethical and environmental values – primarily because of the stigma associated with their responsibility for the cause of the problems.

In the 21st century, the populous expects organisations to be making a conscious and noticeable effort to take environmental needs into account. A study from the Guardian found 71% of millennials (people currently aged 18 to 32-years-old) want brands to show a clear desire to be environmentally friendly and ethical.

This is particularly prevalent when it comes to the motor industry. CO2 emissions are a natural by-product of road vehicle usage, but there are ways of reducing the levels of harmful gases. Such is the importance of the CO2-factor for consumers, leading names, including Auto Express, regularly provide them with a list of cars with the lowest emission levels.

As well as the pressure from the general public, there are several other reasons why a business would be wise to invest in a greener strategy. This is discussed in more detail in section two.

Chapter 2