By Liz Bardetti
With recent political changes and new leadership, many are left wondering how this leaves today’s top challenges affecting not only our people, but the planet. It’s up to businesses to rise to the occasion, tackling issues such as environmental sustainability and global poverty. So how exactly can this be done?
The Environment: Climate change has been a growing issue over the years and it’s not going away. In the 2016 Global Shapers Survey, 45.2 percent of Millennials said climate change and destruction of natural resources was their number one concern when asked about top world issues. There are a variety of different avenues businesses can take to support the environment:
- Anti-deforestation: This is where environmentally responsible products and processes become necessary. Raw materials have become more difficult to procure, so it only makes sense for companies to make the shift to using more conscious materials. If you work for a company that uses resources from trees, try to shoot for half of your supply of goods to be from FSC-certified sources. Using goods (such as wood and paper) from FSC-certified sources helps protect forests and all of the life that thrives in them.
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions: Your company can reduce these harmful emissions AND save money, a win-win! Companies that commit to cutting their carbon emission by 3 percent annually through 2020 can potentially reap as much as $190 billion due to reduced energy bills and increased productivity. Reducing energy use is one of the most common routes in achieving this goal. The building industry has more energy efficiency certifications than ever, and the standards help set measurable and achievable goals. Get your current building, or new construction, LEED Certified or use the handy Energy Star Target Finder to be on your way to reducing greenhouse emissions.
Globally, 767 million people (10.7 percent) live on less than $1.90 a day
. From poverty stem a multitude of other problems, including lack of necessary food, thirst, illness and no educational resources. So how exactly can businesses help take lead on each of these issues within poverty?
- Eliminating hunger: Throughout 2014-2016 it was estimated 1 in 9 people suffered from chronic undernourishment. That totals out to be 795 million people who don’t have access to a reliable food source. A simple, yet impactful, method that companies can take to help end world hunger is to organize a food drive. Ideally, it would be best to be able to get everyone and every country at a point of self-sustainability, but it is not something that can happen overnight. Food donations become important because it’s an effective way to lend a helping hand to those who are trying to get food in a sustainable way. Donate food or cash - anything helps!
- Supporting global education: The 2016 Global Education Monitoring Report stated, “a lack of adequate and equitable finance was a key reason why the world fell short of achieving the Education for all goals between 2000 and 2015.” Considering there are 775 million people in the world who are illiterate, this becomes a pressing issue for businesses and corporations that have the capability to help. To help with this problem, there is not only donating cash to charities like the Global Education Fund but also setting up programs to give a personal touch from your business. For example, start up a tutoring/mentoring program where kids can shadow or work with employees and gain valuable knowledge on the workforce.
While these are just a few of the many problems that we face in our world today, it’s a starting point for your company to be able to give back. Whether you want to give back internationally, or on a local level, use some of these tactics to help better our planet and the people living on it.
Liz Bardetti is a seasoned advertising and marketing professional with 15+ years experience, including work for Gatorade, Welch’s and most recently, CyberGrants.
Image credit: Flickr / Ashlynn Pai