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3rd unit of CSR

Corporate social responsibility (CSR)


Introduction
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) generally describes a business' concern with the wider community and
environment. It can relate to various topics - from human rights and ethical trading, to sustainability and community
development. For most businesses, CSR is about carrying out their operations in an ethical and responsible way.

CSR doesn't just provide a 'feel good' factor; it can often make good business and financial sense. As well as cost
savings, CSR can boost your sales, increase your customer loyalty, help you retain staff and build business reputation.

This guide explains corporate social responsibility and the potential benefits of investing in CSR activities. It tells
you how to set up a good CSR programme, align it to your business goals and measure its effects in a way that is
relevant to your business.

Finally, the advice in this guide will help you to develop your CSR strategy and manage your environmental and
community impact through meaningful, socially responsible actions.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR)


What is corporate social responsibility?
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a broad business concept. It is usually described as a company's commitment
to carrying out their business in an ethical way.

This means managing their business processes while taking account of their social, economic and environmental
impact, and considering human rights.

Examples of corporate social responsibility


Corporate responsibility can cut across almost everything your business does. It can involve a range of CSR
activities, such as:
1. environmental management, eg waste reduction and sustainability

2. responsible sourcing, eg using only fair trade ingredients

3. improvement of working standards and conditions

4. contributing to educational and social programmes

5. volunteering

6. socially responsible investment

7. development of employee and community relations

Different CSR strategies can encourage a business to make a positive impact on all of its stakeholders, including:

1. Consumers - eg through fair and open business practices and good customer relations. See how to manage
your customer service.

2. Suppliers - eg by choosing your suppliers carefully, looking at their labour, health, safety, and
environmental practices. See more on ethical trading.
3. Communities - there are many ways to create positive change in the community, eg sponsoring local events,
taking part in charity initiatives, volunteering, etc. See corporate social responsibility: local community.

4. Employees - responsible business practices will often aim to do more than simply comply with the law.
See staff motivation and performance.

Reducing your environmental impact through different CSR initiatives, such as waste and resource management, can
also greatly benefit your business. Read more on corporate social responsibility: environmental impact.
Importance of corporate social responsibility
CSR can help you improve your business performance, increase competitive advantage and build trust with
customers and employees. It can also help you achieve operational cost savings, by avoiding costs of wasted energy
or unnecessary fees.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR)


Business benefits of corporate social responsibility
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has many advantages that can apply to any business, regardless of its size or
sector.

Benefits of corporate social investment for businesses


The potential benefits of CSR to companies include:

8. better brand recognition

9. positive business reputation

10. increased sales and customer loyalty

11. operational costs savings

12. better financial performance

13. greater ability to attract talent and retain staff

14. organisational growth

15. easier access to capital

Responsible business reputation


Corporate social investment can help you to build a reputation as a responsible business, which can in turn lead
to competitive advantage. Companies often favour suppliers who have responsible policies, since this can reflect on
how their customers see them. Some customers don't just prefer to deal with responsible companies - they insist on
it.
Costs savings
By reducing resource use, waste and emissions, you can help the environment and save money too. With a few simple
steps, you may be able to lower your utility bills and achieve savings for your business. See how to reduce your
business waste to save money.
Finding and keeping talented staff
Being a responsible, sustainable business may make it easier to recruit new employees or retain existing ones.
Employees may be motivated to stay longer, thus reducing the costs and disruption of recruitment and retraining.

Other benefits of CSR to companies


By acting in a sustainable, responsible way, you may also find it easier to:

5. access finance - investors are more likely to back a reputable business

6. attract positive media attention - eg when taking part in community activities

7. reduce regulatory burden - good relationships with local authorities can often make doing business easier
8. identify new business opportunities - eg for development of new products or services

Corporate social responsibility (CSR)


Corporate social responsibility: environmental impact
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) can refer to a wide range of actions that businesses may make - from donating
to charity to ethical trading. One primary focus of CSR is the environment.

What is environmental CSR?


Environmental CSR aims to reduce any damaging effects on the environment from your business' processes.
Activities may focus on:
16. energy use

17. water use

18. waste management

19. recycling

20. emissions

21. eco-friendly office and business travel policies

Some of these are significant from both environmental and financial point of view.

Advantages of environmental CSR


Green CSR can reduce business risk, improve reputation and provide opportunities for cost savings. Even the
simplest energy efficiency measures can generate savings and make a difference to your business. For example:
9. switching off lights and equipment when not in use

10. reducing the use of water

11. reducing the amount of paper you waste

Caring about the environment can increase revenue too. Many customers prefer to buy from responsible companies.
For more information, find out how to improve your environmental performance.
How to reduce your environmental impact
You can reduce your business' environmental impact in many ways. For example, you can:

1. create products that can be recycled

2. optimise your product life cycle

3. source responsibly (eg using recycled materials and sustainable timber)

4. reduce packaging

5. buy locally to save fuel costs

6. create an efficient (and fuel-efficient) distribution network

7. work with environmentally-conscious suppliers and distributors

CSR of Employees
Employees are motivated by corporate social responsibility (CSR). The integration of social,
environmental, and economic improvement through CSR makes workplaces more sound.
Studies show that when companies implement CSR successfully, the result is positive
employee relations with respect to recruitment, morale, retention, and productivity. Last
week, I met with Josh Goldman, vice president of Conifer Health Solutions, which
recently launched a CSR program that is responsible for activities on employee giving,
community partnerships, local involvement, philanthropy, and employee volunteerism. Below
are his top 10 ways to motivate the workforce through CSR.

1. Let your employees participate. While it is important that the company demonstrates its
commitment by sponsoring events and writing big checks, letting employees experience the
commitment firsthand is critical—like when Conifer employees were invited to join the
company’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity International and help build homes across
the U.S.

2. Let your employees lead. Conifer established an internal, employee-led ambassador


program that helped steer volunteer and charity efforts in the local areas in which the
company operates. This gave the entire company a feeling of pride and meaning to
employees and their roles at the company.

3. Recognize attitude. One key potential benefit from CSR initiatives is establishing an
environment that contributes to raising the commitment and motivation of employees to be
more innovative and productive. When ideas start flowing and initiative takes hold, recognize
the effort with individuals and teams.

4. Encourage employee referrals. Loyalty goes up when CSR-related programs go up. The
positive culture and environment that is generated can help retain and recruit talent. Develop
an employee referral program for your managers and employees. It can generate feelings of
commitment toward your company and its mission and growth.

5. Bring CSR inside the company. Look for ways to help your employees grow inside and
not just in the community. Invest in training, tuition, and any costs associated with their skill
development. Goldman reminds us that corporate responsibility on the inside is just as
important as on the outside.

6. Convert sick days to rewards. Since CSR generates more engaged employees, and we
know they are likely to perform better and even take 3.5 fewer sick days per year on
average, then why not create a rewards program with unused sick days? A strong CSR
program can be significant in motivating employees to not only keep going to work but also
showing up with real purpose.

7. Make your executive team visible. When your employees have gone above and beyond
internally on a project or externally in the community, make sure it is recognized. Organize a
town hall or a walk-through that shows utmost care and respect. Every employee that the
executive team acknowledges should get a handshake and a personal thanks.

8. Encourage initiative. According to Goldman, a well-implemented CSR initiative leads to


more satisfied employees. Studies show fully engaged employees are 2.5 times more likely
to exceed their performance expectations than their disengaged counterparts. Make sure
that you encourage initiative and big-thinking to grow the satisfaction your CSR programs
have already started.

9. Create a competitive advantage. A real commitment to a CSR program can lead to a


true and defining differentiation from competitors. Your employees will feel it, and so will your
suppliers, partners, and customers.
10. Be loud. When you have done a great job with CSR, share it with everyone through
social media, newsletters, media coverage, and face-to-face interactions. When your
employees see the pride of the company, they will feel greater pride and the energy,
excitement, and enthusiasm becomes contagious.

CSR of consumers
A business cannot work without consumer. The survival and growth of business depends
on consumer satisfaction, service and support. The commercial organization should win the
confidence of the customers. This is possible by following a positive attitude towards
customers and fulfilling following social responsibilities towards them:-

(1) Quality: The company should produce quality goods. The company should try to improve
its quality because at not time quality can be 100%. There is always room for improvement
of quality.

(2) Fair Prices: The customers should not be cheated by charging high prices. It is not
possible to fool the customer at all the time. Thus, fair price convert a customer into
permanent customer.

(3) Honest Advertising: The customers want to know the facts, features, advantages, side-
effects, etc, of the product. The advertisement conveys this information. Thus, the company
must see that the advertisement is not being misleading and it must be done by providing
the true and actual information.

(4) After Sales Service: The company is expected to provide after sale service for
maintenance of goods during the period of warranty. Efficient and effective after sale service
helps to establish good relation between the customers and the company.

(5) Research and Development:The consumers require that the business organization
must conduct research and development for the purpose of improving the quality and
reducing the cost of production. That is, it must provide ISI or AGMARK products to the
customers.

(6) Consumer's Safety: The business must ensure that the product supplied will not
adversely affect on the life and health of the customers. Unsafe product must not be
marketed by the company.

(7) Regular Supply: Consumer should be supplied with the goods regularly as and when
required by them. The commercial organization should not create artificial shortage of
goods.

(8) Attend Complaints: The consumer complaints must be attended immediately.

(9) Avoid Monopolistic Competition: The commercial organization should avoid


monopolistic competition in the interest of consumers.

(10) Training: The commercial organization should arrange to train the customers either
free or for a fee. It must be in case of computers, etc.
CSR of community

Social Responsibilities of Business towards Community


The business owes a great irresponsibilityto the community in various
directions. Some of the major areas where business can and does contribute
towards community welfare as a part of its social responsibility are:

1. In the field of Industry


An important social responsibility of business/industry is to help rural areas
by introducing “self help” and “earn-while-you-learn” programmes. Initially,
such programmes may be labor intensive in areas like pottery, carpentry,
weaving, spinning, industry based on agriculture, farming, dairy farming, pig
rearing, poultry and storage, etc., so employment opportunities could be
provided in rural areas.
For this purpose, business experts should survey areas that need
improvement, skill requirement, financial assistance etc.

2. In the field of Agriculture


As a social responsibility, a large business house can play an important role
in agricultural development, to provide full-time employment to the vast
unemployed rural labour force.

For this purpose, the business should get the survey done by its experts in
the field of climate, soil conditions, breeding of livestock facilities for
irrigation and water supply and actual supply of fertilizers seeds, pesticides,
expertise, and finances. Non-agricultural activities seeking linkage with the
agricultural sector and the industrialized sector can also be developed.

3. Housing Facilities
The social responsibility of business in this sphere is great, specially because
a major proportion of the rural population is doomed to diseases, squalid
existence in hopelessly ill-planned and filthy houses. Therefore, business can
play a major role by extending financial aid, by providing material and
manpower support, home building practices etc.
In urban areas, slum clearance schemes, one or two room tenements with
facilities for sanitation should be provided in labour colonies.

4. Transportation
Business and other agencies can help the government by undertaking studies
and programmes of technical and financial assistance to develop cheap
public transport, increasing the operational efficiency and utilization of road
capacity, enhanced licensing procedures, more rational and scientific
estimates for vehicle fleet size and manpower for different modes of
transport, improved maintenance and replacement policy for the spares, and
structural changes in urban and rural layouts.

5. Health and Education


Business organizations have their responsibility towards improvement of the
quality of the people of the community. They can and should be engaged in
works like improving drainage system, adequate clean drinking water
facility, enhancing sewage disposal system, waste management, pollution
control, improving sanitation, construction of toilets etc., which will prevent
many water-borne diseases. Medicines can be distributed free of cost,
offering healthy food to children, sick people, pregnant mothers and aged
people. Organizing camps should be conducted to treat minor ailments.

The problems responsible for ill-health in the rural areas need solution, for
they result from lack of health education, unhealthy environment, unclean
habits of living, poverty, poor diet, and the social culture. These problems
can be solved through medical help, and the help of social workers. Besides,
rural education could provide individuals with knowledge and skills to
enable them to manage their families, to participate in cultural and economic
life and to sharpen problem-solving capabilities.

6. Industrial Aid to Education in Urban Areas


Progressive individual businessmen and individual business houses are
running or supporting schools, colleges and technical/professional
educational institutions.

In fact, it is a part of modern social responsibility of business that it should


support educational programmes, more particularly technical education. In
some cases, they help by lending the services of their specialists (as visiting
experts) and giving financial help.
7. Social Audit On Factual Assessment
This should be done by trained and professional personnel to show the social
performance of business. The term “social audit” generally means

A social audit should generally adopt a four-step process, viz;

1. firm must itemize all the activities that have a potential social impact;
2. the circumstances leading to these actions or activities must be explained;
3. some evaluation of the performance must be conducted; and
4. the company must examine the relationship between the goals of the firm
and those of society to see how the programme relate to one another.
In brief, it may be said that

Such responsibilities extend beyond the business to the lives of the people
and the community and as such they should endeavor to:

1. play their proper role in civil affairs within the goals of the business;
2. promote amenities and help, create better living conditions;
3. help in making people law-abiding and improving legislation and
administration in municipal and industrial affairs; and
4. set up socially desirable standards of living, themselves avoiding
ostentatious, wasteful expenditure, and improvident display in weddings,
festivities and parties.

What is Corporate Governance?


Corporate Governance refers to the way a corporation is governed. It is the technique by which
companies are directed and managed. It means carrying the business as per the stakeholders’
desires. It is actually conducted by the board of Directors and the concerned committees for the
company’s stakeholder’s benefit. It is all about balancing individual and societal goals, as well as,
economic and social goals.

Corporate Governance is the interaction between various participants (shareholders, board of


directors, and company’s management) in shaping corporation’s performance and the way it is
proceeding towards. The relationship between the owners and the managers in an organization must
be healthy and there should be no conflict between the two. The owners must see that individual’s
actual performance is according to the standard performance. These dimensions of corporate
governance should not be overlooked.

Corporate Governance deals with the manner the providers of finance guarantee themselves of
getting a fair return on their investment. Corporate Governance clearly distinguishes between the
owners and the managers. The managers are the deciding authority. In modern corporations, the
functions/ tasks of owners and managers should be clearly defined, rather, harmonizing.

Corporate Governance deals with determining ways to take effective strategic decisions. It gives
ultimate authority and complete responsibility to the Board of Directors. In today’s market- oriented
economy, the need for corporate governance arises. Also, efficiency as well as globalization are
significant factors urging corporate governance. Corporate Governance is essential to develop added
value to the stakeholders.

Corporate Governance ensures transparency which ensures strong and balanced economic
development. This also ensures that the interests of all shareholders (majority as well as minority
shareholders) are safeguarded. It ensures that all shareholders fully exercise their rights and that the
organization fully recognizes their rights.

Corporate Governance has a broad scope. It includes both social and institutional aspects. Corporate
Governance encourages a trustworthy, moral, as well as ethical environment.

Benefits of Corporate Governance

1. Good corporate governance ensures corporate success and economic growth.


2. Strong corporate governance maintains investors’ confidence, as a result of which, company
can raise capital efficiently and effectively.
3. It lowers the capital cost.
4. There is a positive impact on the share price.
5. It provides proper inducement to the owners as well as managers to achieve objectives that
are in interests of the shareholders and the organization.
6. Good corporate governance also minimizes wastages, corruption, risks and mismanagement.
7. It helps in brand formation and development.
8. It ensures organization in managed in a manner that fits the best interests of all.

Code of governance
The purpose of this Code of Governance is to state basic principles which will guide the Members of the
Governing Board of the NICCT and the NICCT officials in carrying out their responsibilities:

1. Maintaining the integrity of the NICCT and working in its best interest will be the overriding
consideration for the Members of the Board and officials of the NICCT. They should have
access to accurate, relevant and timely information for this purpose.

2. Acting in good faith, with due diligence and care in the best interest of the NICCT.

3. Monitoring and managing potential conflicts of interest of management, Board Members and

Members, including misuse of assets and abuse in related party transactions.

4. Ensuring the integrity of the NICCT’s accounting and financial reporting systems.

5. Ensuring a formal and transparent board nomination and election process.

6. Defining clearly and disclosing the mandate, composition and working procedures for the

committees established by the Board.


7. Not benefiting from their position beyond what is allowed by the governing document and the

law.

8. Identifying and declaring any potential conflicts of interests affecting them, including

conflicting loyalties which may arise when they are appointed as representatives of other

organizations.

9. Being open, responsive and accountable to the members.

10. NICCT Board should encourage the engagement of the members in the Chamber’s long term

planning and vision.

consumerism
Consumer in India had started its journey with a need to raise his voice against the
quality of goods as back as in 1969 through housewives at Mumbai .It took a shape
of revolution at later stage and one day our parliament passed an act for the
welfare of consumers in 1986 .This Consumer Protection Act 1986 had further
undergone many challenges,criticism and even question on its legal validity was
also put before the honorable Supreme Court of India After hearing all sort of
accusation and constraints from the big business houses , our apex court held this
welfare act very much valid , legal and within the framework of our constitution .

Since 1986 and after three important amendments to the act ,scenario in the
market has drastically changed and consumerism in India is diverted to more of
lust than limited to needs .We are now easily confusing the things with what we
need and what we want Its true ,if we work hard ,we deserve nice things .But
stuffing plenty of nice things which we really do not need deprive the other
consumers from the things they require for their survival .Keeping four cars for
four persons in the family is ultimately going to affect others and also more
consumption of nation’s resources like petrol etc.Our sense of entitlement can
muddy the waters when it comes to what you want and what you really need. The
sizes of our houses are expanding as per our income and resources irrespective of
the fact what we had in olden days . People were having more kids but still living
in houses far smaller than we’re willing to settle for today Now we want a room
for every child, plus a living room, family room, media room, and kids’ playroom.
And if we have to share a television, we are very uncomfortable with the idea ..

This sense of entitlement is building commercial pressure on our children.Rates of


depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses have risen in the past two decades
in the children .A report submitted to the inquiry by the National Consumer
Council found that children in deprived areas were more obsessed with money and
shopping than youngsters from better-off homes. Poorer children wanted a job
with a high salary compared with children from affluent areas and they were the
main victims of con-sumerism, as per the report conducted by the charity “The
Children’s Society”
Our consumption patterns are so much a part of our lives that to change them
would require a massive cultural overhaul, In consumer society of the day now,
people replace their goods with newer ones, use them and throw them away. The
question of repair does not arise People have money to purchase goods in plenty.
In case, they do not do so , it leads to recession massive unemployment. The
success of a consumer society is measured with the rate of production , purchase
and consumption .The society is considered to be progressing if all above elements
are present there . The single most important measure of economic growth is the
gross national product (GNP), the sum total of goods

But at the same time as per— Richard Robbins,


“ the production, processing, and consumption, of commodities requires the
extraction and use of natural resources (wood, fuels, and water); it requires the
creation of factories and factory complexes whose operation creates toxic
byproducts, while the use of commodities themselves (e.g. automobiles) creates
pollutants and waste. Yet of the three factors environmentalists often point to as
responsible for environmental pollution — population, technology, and
consumption — consumption seems to get the least attention. One reason, no
doubt, is that it may be the most difficult to change;”

What are the effects of the consumerism?


Consumerism is appreciated in Western economies since a person’s standard of
living is valued by his or her material possessions. There are certain positive
effects such as:
Positive Consumerism Effects:
Primary positive consumerism effects are:
 More industrial production.
 A higher growth rate economy.
 More goods and services available.
 More advertising since goods manufactured have to be sold.
 Increased production will result in more employment opportunities.
 A variety ofchoice for goods and services
 More comforts for a better living style.
.

Negative Consumerism Effects:


Top negative consumerism effects are:
1. The main cause of the current environmental crisis is human nature More
specifically, all we’re doing is what all other creatures have ever done to survive,
expanding into whatever territory is available and using up whatever resources are
available and one day it may result into a death in their own waste.
TheUniversityofColoradoatBoulderlikened the expansion of human cities to the
growth and spread of cancer, predicting “death” of the Earth in about 2025.
Since the human population has quadrupled in the past 100 years and at this rate
will reach a size in 2025 that leads to global collapse .

1. .One is in a rat race to earn more and is forced to cope up with stress and other work
related tensions.
2. Material wealth is the deciding factor about whether a society is highly developed or
not. Our ethical and spiritual values are left unimportant under the circumstances .
3. Over-dependence on labor saving devices.
4. A car for each individual would mean gradual erosion of public transport.
5. Crime rate also increases as wants to possess expensive gadgets increase. Thefts
become common and daylight robberies take place.
6. Personal relationships also get affected as people are busy trying to earn more to
maintain their standard of living.
7. Cheaper goods are Today’s consumption which also affect environmental resource
8. Consumerism has also resulted in ecological imbalances. The natural habitat is being
destroyed to create more goods and build more buildings affecting the weather. Global
warming will eventually result in health problems. Industrial pollution is affecting
people rather than focusing on simplicity.

Corporate social responsibility abroad


When managing a Dutch company in an international context, the Dutch government
expects you to observe the OECD guidelines. These guidelines contain rules of conduct
for corporate social responsibility and deal with, for example human rights, the
environment and labour law. Most of these rules of conduct are voluntary. A number of rules
are included in Dutch legislation. You can find out which guidelines and codes of
conduct apply on the NCP website (National Contact Point OECD Guidelines).

Funding rules
Most financial schemes for international entrepreneurship of the Dutch government are only
accessible when you observe the rules for corporate social responsibility. You have to prove
an active policy as regards corporate social responsibility that is based on the OECD
guidelines. The Dutch government also wants companies from whom they purchase to meet
the requirements regarding corporate social responsibility.

Corruption
Bribing foreign public officials in international business transactions is an offence all over the
world.

Transparency
In order to be transparent about your policy as regards corporate social responsibility you
are obliged to include corporate social responsibility in your annual report in your capacity as
a medium-sized or large company.

National Contact Point OECD-guidelines (NCP)


The Dutch National Contact Point (NCP) offers you support to bring the OECD
guidelines in practice. In addition, you can also report differences of opinion to the NCP
about applying the OECD guidelines. The NCP will then act as an independent mediator.
Challenge of
environment
1. Air pollution and climate change.
Problem: Overloading of the atmosphere and of
ocean waters with carbon. Atmospheric CO2
absorbs and re-emits infrared-wavelength
radiation, leading to warmer air, soils, and
ocean surface waters - which is good: The planet
would be frozen solid without this.

Unfortunately, there's now too much carbon in


the air. Burning of fossil fuels, deforestation for
agriculture, and industrial activities have
pushed up atmospheric CO2 concentrations
from 280 parts per million (ppm) 200 years ago,
to about 400 ppm today. That's an
unprecedented rise, in both size and speed. The
result: climate disruption.

Carbon overloading is only one form of air


pollution caused by burning coal, oil, gas and
wood. The World Health Organization recently
estimated that one in nine deaths in 2012 were
attributable to diseases caused by carcinogens
and other poisons in polluted air.

Solutions: Replace fossil fuels with renewable


energy. Reforestation. Reduce emissions from
agriculture. Change industrial processes.

The good news is that clean energy is abundant -


it just needs to be harvested. Many say a 100
percent renewable-energy future is feasible with
existing technology now.

But the bad news is that even though renewable


energy infrastructure - solar panels, wind
turbines, energy storage and distribution
systems - are already widespread, and getting
cheaper and more efficient all the time, experts
say we're not applying them quickly enoughto
prevent catastrophic climate disruption.
Barriers in policy and finance remain to be
overcome.

2. Deforestation.
Problem: Species-rich wild forests are being
destroyed, especially in the tropics, often to
make way for cattle ranching, soybean or palm
oil plantations, or other agricultural
monocultures.

Today, about 30 percent of the planet's land


area is covered by forests - which is about half as
much as before agriculture got started around
11,000 years ago. About 7.3 million hectares (18
million acres) of forest are destroyed each year,
mostly in the tropics. Tropical forests used to
cover about 15 percent of the planet's land area;
they're now down to 6 or 7 percent. Much of this
remainder has been degraded by logging or
burning.

Not only do natural forests act as


biodiversity reserves, they are also carbon sinks,
keeping carbon out of the atmosphere and
oceans.

Solutions: Conserve of what's left of natural


forests, and restore degraded areas by
replanting with native tree species. This requires
strong governance - but many tropical countries
are still developing, with increasing populations,
uneven rule-of-law, and widespread cronyism
and bribery when it comes to allocating land
use.

3. Species extinction.
Problem: On land, wild animals are being
hunted to extinction for bushmeat, ivory, or
"medicinal" products. At sea, huge industrial
fishing boats equipped with bottom-trawling or
purse-seine nets clean out entire fish
populations. The loss and destruction of habitat
are also major factors contributing to a wave of
extinction - unprecedented in that it is caused by
a single species: humans. The IUCN's Red List
of threatened and endangered species continues
to grow.

Not only do species inherently deserve to exist,


they also provide products and "services"
essential to human survival. Think bees and
their pollinating prowess - necessary for
growing food.

Solutions: Concerted efforts need to be made to


prevent further loss of biodiversity. Protecting
and restoring habitats is one side of this
- protecting against poaching and wildlife
trade is another. This should be done in
partnership with locals, so that wildlife
conservation is in their social and economic
interest.

4. Soil degradation.
Problem: Overgrazing, monoculture planting,
erosion, soil compaction, overexposure to
pollutants, land-use conversion - there's a long
list of ways that soils are being damaged. About
12 million hectares of farmland a year get
seriously degraded, according to UN estimates.

Solutions: A wide range of soil conservation and


restoration techniques exist, from no-till
agriculture to crop rotation to water-retention
through terrace-building. Given that food
security depends on keeping soils in good
condition, we're likely master this challenge in
the long run. Whether this will be done in a way
equitable to all people around the globe,
remains an open question.

5. Overpopulation.
Problem: Human population continues to grow
rapidly worldwide. Humanity entered the 20th
century with 1.6 billion people; right now, we're
about 7.5 billion. Estimates put us at nearly 10
billion by 2050. Growing global populations,
combined with growing affluence, is putting
ever greater pressure on essential natural
resources, like water. Most of the growth is
happening on the African continent, and in
southern and eastern Asia.

Solutions: Experience has shown that when


women are empowered to control their own
reproduction, and gain access to education and
basic social services, the average number of
births per woman drops precipitously.

Done right, networked aid systems could bring


women out of extreme poverty, even in
countries where state-level governance remains
abysmal.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS THAT ARE
ALSO BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES
1. Climate Change—with the planet heating up
and ice caps melting due to carbon emissions, there
are serious opportunities for “carbon offsets”. Entire
financial models and markets are being developed
and implemented in Europe and now the US around
this issue along with a whole movement towards
making lower-impact products and services in
virtually every industry imaginable: manufacturing,
construction, transportation, energy, etc.
2. Energy—oil will not be able to accommodate
the growth in energy for more than another 2-15
years or so before there will not be enough to go
around. There are humongous opportunities for
energy consulting, auditing, alternative energy
products and services, industrial design and
manufacturing, and so on.
3. Water—according to WorldOMeters over 1.3
billion people worldwide currently do not have
access to drinkable water. And the US is not immune
as it has become a major issue in our drier states.
Product design, consulting and monitoring resources
are just a few of the many, many opportunities
available in water management.
4. Biodiversity and Land Use—when huge
tracks of rainforest, the home of many, many species
of plants and animals are burned down to grow one
crop (i.e. soy, corn, wheat, rice, etc.) or raise one
animal (i.e. cattle), we are loosing major important
planetary resources. Many opportunities, ranging
from medicinal horticulture to eco-tourism, are
available all over the world.
5. Chemicals, Toxics, and Heavy Metals—
according to WorldOMeters for the first 30 days of
2008, the world’s industries have dumped over
772,000 tons of pollutants into the air, water and
land. Any products and services related to the
reduction of dumping these chemicals are being
looked at by many private and public sectors world
wide. One of the fastest growing markets in the US is
the organics food industry.
6. Air Pollution—according to the World Bank,
it is estimated 800,000 people die prematurely
every year from illnesses caused by outdoor air
pollution worldwide. There are many opportunities
to improve air quality controls through products and
services, emissions testing, auditing, consulting, air
filters, and so on.
7. Waste Management—according to Zero
Waste America, each American disposed almost 10
tons of waste in 2001. There are huge opportunities
in designing and implementing reusable products,
shipping and packaging and take-out containers,
consulting, education, art from found objects, and on
and on.
8. Ozone Layer Depletion—known as our
natural sun screen, it limits ultraviolet (UV)
radiation to levels necessary for life on earth. With
the ozone layers on the polar caps disappearing
since first discovered in 1979, opportunities abound
in the health sector, specifically those addressing
issues with skin cancer, cataracts and immune
systems as well as marine biology.
9. Forest and Fisheries—with approximately
70% of the world’s major marine fisheries depleted,
major opportunities arise in food manufacturing,
education, biology, vegetarian products and services,
alternative farming practices, environmental non-
profits and so on.
10. Deforestation— according to WorldOMeters in
the first four weeks of 2008, almost 2.25 million
acres of forest have been destroyed, contributing to
the almost 1.2 million acres of new desert formed.
There are major opportunities available in eco-
tourism, land management and top soil containment
as well as all-natural/organic landscaping, farming
practices, education, and on and on.