very business these days is, or has some element of, an environmental challenge to society. The days of confrontation, argument and denial over climate change is over with the devastating fires in NSW, Victoria and South Australia fundamentally changing the debate and cementing public attitudes not only here in Australia, but around the world.
But this is nothing new. For the past 40 years various elements of the environmental movement and business have come together and worked together on issues facing the environment. For instance, after many years of ducking debate over whether huge amounts of waste are created by takeaway meals sold every day around the world, McDonalds have worked hand in hand with government departments and environmental organisations on packaging challenges, ultimately bringing a solid ‘reduce-reuse-recycle’ ethic process into McDonald’s day to day operations at outlets worldwide.
Hundreds of companies have similar stories to tell with many now assessing their solid waste, carbon emissions, water pollution and other challenges with many now aligning their business with strategic partners in the environmental community and gone to work to successfully reduce their contributions to the environment.
Sustainable corporate environmental responsibility is no longer a choice. Stakeholders internally and externally are now calling for ‘conscious capitalism’ which leads to what I call ‘conscious communications” where business must take responsibility for their waste on all levels. However, the reality is to be sustainable in business is a challenge and they are not going to clean up the world by themselves, but they do understand that the devil is in the details and every bit now counts and if they are going to grow as a business they have a corporate responsibility to also grow with the community.
• Kieran Moran is the managing director of Resource Industry Media, a consultancy firm specialising in media-driven public relations, marketing, communications, engagement, events and promotional programs for the mining, engineering, manufacturing, construction and services sector.