Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been growing in importance for business stakeholders in recent years. Environmental responsibility is becoming part of this broader social conscience for consumers, investors and employees.
Likewise, investors are looking more favourably on companies with good environmental performance. They are looking for investments that make financial returns but also incur social or environmental benefits. This is exemplified in the development of the FTSE4Good Index which provides a range of indices to aid investors who wish to invest in socially responsible companies. Find out more on the FTSE4Good Index website.
Environmental responsibility is also becoming more important for employees. Employees are demanding more ethical corporate practices and are often looking for their companies to show leadership in the area of climate change. Businesses can improve staff relations and satisfaction by taking action to reduce their carbon footprints. Gaining employee support will also help with the successful implementation of energy and environmental management practices.
The challenge for large industry and commercial enterprises is to respond to these changing stakeholder preferences. Businesses have the opportunity to capitalise on the green market trend and many measures can be taken to improve the environmental performance of a company, depending on the type of business and the resources available. Action can range in complexity and investment, from simple improvement of energy efficiency in daily operations to new product innovation.
Once steps have been taken, companies can publicise their efforts and benefit from the positive publicity gained from their commitments. Measures to improve environmental management can be documented in Annual Reports. This will help improve reputation and brand value and can generate a positive image in the minds of consumers and alike.
Climate change is becoming of high interest to stakeholders and current demands for company transparency mean that some businesses could be left open to criticism if they do not take action to improve their performance. Businesses who commit to reducing their carbon footprint can help gain the respect and trust of stakeholders – a vital asset for all industry. Importantly, by taking simple measures, they can make a real contribution to Ireland’s collective efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
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