5 Steps your Business Can Take to Invest in Sustainability and Environmental Awareness

Esther-Gail Fraser, an intern at CorpCare sat down with Ms. Diana McCaulay, founder of Jamaica Environmental Trust (JET) to explore ways that your business can invest in sustainability and environmental awareness for Recycle Week (September 20-25) and its relationship to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

“I think it’s long past the time we have a really serious conversation about whether economic growth for every country for all time is feasible on a planet subject to the laws of physics and biology”

- Diana McCaulay, Writer and founder of Jamaica Environmental Trust (JET)

Here are Ms.McCaulay’s recommended steps organisations can take to invest in sustainability and environmental awareness:

1. ‘First, Do No Harm’

Coming from the Hippocratic Oath, ‘First, do no harm’ is a guiding principle for physicians that, whatever the intervention or procedure, the patient’s well-being is the primary consideration. Ms.McCaulay says that equally, companies need to prioritise the welfare of the environment, in a way that sees further than just following laws or mere marketing campaigns but looks at the deeper effects that it may have on the environment long term.

2. Do more than just Greenwashing & PR

Unfortunately some companies convey a false impression or provide misleading information about how a company’s products are more environmentally friendly or conscious, this is known as Greenwashing (Investopedia). Compounding the issue is the use of public relations which presents a sustainable and environmentally conscious image despite a conflicting reality.

McCaulay urges our corporate partners to properly invest in environmental awareness and sustainability in a way that is ethical and true, for the benefit of the business, the environment and the society at large

3. Sometimes there are no Win/Wins

McCaulay stresses the fact that sometimes there are no win/win situations. Not everything can be mitigated so it may be better to pivot or abandon an idea in favour of the environment and our society’s well being.

“Many companies take the view that they will obey laws - but what if the laws are inadequate, as they are here? What if treating waste properly is more expensive than what the law requires, and makes your product uncompetitive? These are hard questions for any company which says they want to practice corporate social responsibility” McCaulay says.

4. Don’t Displace Your Costs to the wider society

Take responsibility. If your organization creates and/or contributes to waste, pay your taxes to cover the effects on the environment and community. And invest in solutions.

5.Invest in better planning

With her experience working with both policymakers and those on the ground, McCaulay says the most urgent need is for better planning. Especially in regards to construction and development, she notes that too many developments start without permits and then become regularized which causes problems.

“A place to start is with the land you’re using. Is it brownfield? Greenfield? What was there or is there? Can you restore what was there? Make a little park to enjoy what is there? The next place is your waste. Where’s your sewage going? How well is it treated? Your solid waste? Are you a factory with emissions? How close do people live to your operations?”

Talking to Diana highlighted how urgent the need for action is regarding environmental awareness and action. The environment is discounted as a part of business priorities, but it is an important part of an organization’s triple bottom line and should be invested in with equal urgency, especially in light of climate change and its effects.

CorpCare can help to provide your business with evaluation and strategy in order to be a more efficient and effective contributor to society, visit our website or email us at assist@corpcareja.com to start the conversation.