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Global Corporate Sustainability Action Is Necessary For Public Health – OpEd

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As many businesses continue with harmful methods of production and manufacturing, the health of the planet and its inhabitants continues to suffer. There are endless scientific studies run every year on the effects of greenhouse gases, pollution, an excess of plastic, and more, yet corporations seem not to care.

Though some make an effort to make positive change, it’s not enough. Even worse, some corporations feign their sustainability efforts, violating their ethical responsibility. Experts worry about the worsening state of the Earth as these negative habits continue to wreak havoc on it. Action is necessary now to make a positive difference.

Questionable Values

Although trading environmentally harsh processes for sustainable practices is an expensive switch, going green is of great value to businesses. Not only is it great PR for their reputation, but they also become more appealing to many customers. Unfortunately, not all businesses are willing to earn the PR or customers the right way.

According to an environmental report on green marketing and producing green products, greenwashing occurs when businesses use green marketing in a way that misrepresents the company’s actual policies and practices. Also cited in the research were big name companies have been found to greenwash, including General Electric (GE), American Electric Power, and Exxonmobil.

The report additionally states that though there are extensive measures to help regulate green marketing — like regulating terms such as biodegradable, non-toxic, recyclable, and eco-friendly — some terms remain unregulated. These terms, such as “organic” or “sustainable,” can be manipulated by companies to misrepresent their products.

Public Health Consequences

Not only do such unethical practices enable companies to profit from fraudulent claims, they help prevent sustainable action. As long as companies are able to get away with such murky behavior, they will avoid action. As long as they continue to have a scapegoat or a way around, they will continue their harmful practices. As long as they do this, public health will suffer.

According to the University of Nevada, Reno, climate change has caused severe health consequences, starting with food insecurity. As temperatures rise due to global warming, there is an increasing pattern of failed livestock and crops.

The university also reports that high temperatures also help to spread dangerous diseases, such as dengue fever and malaria. These geo-climate associated infections are prone to specific environments that are supported by the heat, and higher global temperatures will help expand the right conditions for these types of diseases.

Of course, these are just a couple of the many ways that the lack of sustainable action is harming public health. Radiation poisoning, polluted drinking water, and the consumption of dangerous chemicals are also hovering threats.

Corporate Responsibility

Companies have a responsibility to improve sustainability efforts not only to minimize their environmental harm as part of corporate social responsibility (CSR), but also for global leadership. As long as the majority of big companies do not participate in green solutions, they are allowing everyone else to follow.

However, if companies live up to their corporate responsibility to their community, they set a positive example for other companies to follow. This way, they would eventually make it impossible for companies not to practice sustainable methods of production.

Investing in sustainability is one of many ways companies can invest in their community. When they take sustainability seriously and commit to best green practices, they truly earn the positive marketing and consumer support. At the same time, they help maintain the health of the planet to secure a better future, not only for themselves, but for their community as well.

*Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.


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