Sustainable Development and the Environment
February 11, 2018
Environment and Competitive advantage
In this millennial epoch and years to come, concerns about the natural environment will be a critical avenue towards gaining competitive advantage. Ecological variables such as natural resources, energy, pollution, and waste management can present either opportunities or constraints to a company. How a company handles these issues will determine its place in the industries competitive landscape (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2003). It is evident from news headlines that every company seems to be engaged in the environmental debate. Technological advancements can play a vital role in efforts of managing these ecological issues thus presenting the companies with a unique opportunity of saving the planet while still staying ahead of the competition. It is without a doubt that environmental management is the next competitive platform for corporations.
The environmental management involves the alignment of strategies, actions and organizational functions with environmental policies. It aims at reducing or eliminating adverse impacts of business services, products or operations on the environment. Numerous products or processes frequently result in significant environmental pollution through the disposal of dangerous and toxic contents and even resulting in health complications. Through the implementation of effective environmental management systems, the company can avoid causing these pollution and environmental impacts hence eliminating threats to the consumers of the company’s products (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2003).
Importance of environmental management
The information technology has advanced allowing for the easy dissemination of information hence increased awareness by the public. Businesses are increasingly becoming competitive forcing managers to put any potential efforts which will enable the organization to gain competitive advantages. Using environmental management as a competitive tool ensure that businesses gain an edge over its competitors who are not wary of the environmental impact of their activities (Shestak, 2015). The customers are increasingly aware of products and services that are environment-friendly, and they will shun products from companies involved in pollution and degradation of the environment.
Beyond customer awareness consideration, it is a business social responsibility to conform to conserve the environment in which it operates. All business must contribute to solving the global warming menace that is challenging the very existence of humanity. An organization engaged in effective environmental management business practices will be viewed as being socially responsible and ethical therefore gaining competitive advantages over competitors who are not. Social responsibility is a useful tool for companies that seek to create customer loyalty and improve their reputation (Ortas, Gallego, & Etxeberria, 2015).
Environmental management has the effect of maintaining a healthy communication and relationship among the various organization’s stakeholders. This is because people, workforce or investors, of the business, would probably prefer working in an environment that does not negatively affect their health and of others. Contributing positively towards the environment can be used as a motivational tool for the workforce (Ortas, Gallego, & Etxeberria, 2015).
Implementation of effective systems for environmental management and conformity to its standards as outlined in ISO 14001, has positive results for the company’s international relations and also allows the shields the firm from litigations and lawsuits that might derail its operations hence reducing its market share. Minimizing waste, saving energy and effective disposal/ recycling of waste are among some of the positive aspects of the effective implementation of environmental management. All these elements enhance the business’ public outlook and result in cost saving as well. Energy saving not only reduces pollution of the environment but also help the business cut down expenses which can be reverted to other essential activities of the firm (Shestak, 2015).
Achieving Environment leadership in IT business
To obtain a leadership position in environmental management, the company will need to first familiarize with the ecological sustainability in the computing industry (Nohlan, 2017). Establish a broader understanding of how to reduce the negative impact of computing such as hardware component and power management and relate those activities to your line of operation. The next step is developing a vision and strategy in line with the environmental goals, both short and long-term. The SWOT and PESTLE models can be employed to determine the best strategic plan. These goals must be communicated to both internal and external stakeholders to motivate and inspire them to believe in the strategy.
Continual analysis and reporting of the environmental impact are critical for firms to understand the progress of their initiative and the effect it is having on the company’s line of business. Also, the corporate, regulatory and legal reporting landscape with regards to environmental concerns places a lot of pressure on business to provide detailed reports regarding their ecological footprints. Therefore, investing in technology would be necessary to integrate management, analysis, and framework for reporting (Braam, Weerd, Hauck, & Huijbregts, 2016).
Many people believe that company’s environment management policies are just another way of conforming to environmental regulatory requirement. However, most companies nowadays consider it as a tool to continually improve the organization and gain competitive advantage. Besides ethical obligations, there are measurable benefits obtained from implementing effective environmental management. Even though ethics is not a typical word in the era of millennials, to business practices, it is a platform for gaining customer loyalty and competitive edge.
Braam, G. J., de Weerd, L. U., Hauck, M., & Huijbregts, M. A. (2016). Determinants of corporate environmental reporting: The importance of environmental performance and assurance. Journal of cleaner production, 129, 724-734.
Noe, R. A., Hollenbeck, J. R., Gerhart, B., & Wright, P. M. (2003). Gaining a competitive advantage. Irwin: McGraw-Hill.
Nohlan, J. (2018). ISO 14001 Blog. 14001Academy. Retrieved 11 February 2018, from https://advisera.com/14001academy/blog/
Ortas, E., Gallego‐Alvarez, I., & Álvarez Etxeberria, I. (2015). Financial factors influencing the quality of corporate social responsibility and environmental management disclosure: A quantile regression approach. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 22(6), 362-380.
Shestak, M. (2015). BARRIERS TO IMPLEMENTATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS IN ACCORDANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS ISO: 14001. Drukerovskij Vestnik, (3), 105-121. http://dx.doi.org/10.17213/2312-6469-2015-3-105-121