I avoid getting into politically sensitive topics on social media. However, there’s one I have a responsibility to discuss. April is Earth Month. While always an important cause, there’s never been a more important Earth Month than this year’s due to the environment being under siege by the new Administration in Washington. We are faced with an administration that is aggressively working to dismantle all regulations and treaties that are intended to protect our air, water, and other vital natural resources.
The Administration aims to reverse critical programs and regulations intended to protect our world.
- Major budget cuts: The Administration has proposed either eliminating or making drastic budget cuts to over 50 EPA programs and others such as: Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy; Clean Power Plan; Title 17 Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program; Global Change Research program; Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board. In addition, via Executive Order the Stream Protection Rule has been cancelled (permitting coal companies to be able to dump all waste into rivers, streams, etc.).
- Leaving international and corporate commitments: The Administration announced its intention to back out of our country’s commitments to the Paris Agreement on climate change and the United Nations Climate Change Fund. It has also indicated ambitions to end the ENERGY STAR program—a successful example of public-private partnerships—as well as reduce fuel efficiency regulations for automakers (i.e., Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards).
- Threats to the EPA: Scott Pruitt, the new head of the EPA, has a long-standing pro-fossil fuel industry and anti-environment record as Oklahoma’s attorney general (he sued the EPA 13 times); on his LinkedIn page, Pruitt refers to himself as a “leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.” Furthermore, in a one-sentence bill submitted weeks ago, Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz introduced legislation to eliminate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by December 31, 2018.
- Policies that benefit very few Americans yet bear huge economic opportunity, health, and climate costs: The Administration has stated its commitment to bringing back the (arguably now dead) coal industry, despite its negative impact on the environment as well as consistent divestment trends among investors and electric utilities alike away from coal. Renewable energy already employs more Americans than coal (even Arby’s employs more people than the coal industry) —and is poised for significant growth moving forward. A wiser policy position would be to bring rapidly growing clean energy opportunities to former coal communities.
Despite the negligent and lamentable direction of environmental policy under the new Administration, business leaders have an opportunity to take ownership over creating a better, more prosperous future for Americans—all for profit. Per the Harvard Business Review, investments in comprehensive sustainable business operations yield not only valuable energy cost savings, but also increased brand reputation, customer loyalty, plus employee recruitment, engagement, and retention.
Not yet convinced? Consider the following from the HBR article:
Enhance Customer Loyalty: From 2006 and 2010, the top 100 sustainable global companies saw dramatically higher sales growth, returns, profit, and cash flows from operations in some sectors compared to control companies—including some studies showing sales can increase up to 20% due to CSR practices. Consumers perceive sustainable companies more favorably, and believe they deliver higher product performance—leading to shifting purchasing decisions to brands maintaining higher levels of integrity, social responsibility, and sustainability at their core. The result: companies can charge price premiums and gain a competitive advantage against industry peers during both strong and weak economic times.
Better Attract, Engage, and Retain Employees: Corporate sustainability initiatives can help increase employee loyalty, efficiency, and productivity, as well as improve recruitment, retention, and morale because 21st Century employees are focused more on mission, purpose, and work-life balance. Companies investing in sustainability initiatives therefore tend to create a more sought-after culture and higher engagement due to strategies focusing more on purpose and providing value to society and treating employees as critical stakeholders who then become prouder employees. For example, a study showed companies with strong sustainability programs experienced morale being 55% better, and employee loyalty 38% better—in turn reducing absenteeism and improving productivity. In addition, corporate responsibility performance is also positively associated with turnover and recruitment, with studies showing turnover drops by as much as 25–50% and replacement cost reductions up to 90%-200% of an employee’s annual salary for each retained position.
What can you do as an individual or company?
- Ideas on how to reduce your company’s carbon footprint
- Check out respected charities to donate to
- Check out group volunteering opportunities with environmental organizations
- Contact your elected officials (state, Federal government) to voice your concerns
- Find out about opportunities to protest the government’s anti-environment tactics
- Sign petitions about the environment
Are you curious how to build a profitable, sustainable business operations strategy? About how to leverage the benefits of being a socially responsible property management company? Contact ManagInc via Info@ManagInc.com to learn more about how everyone can win, including you, by enhancing your focus on your stakeholders (employees, residents, suppliers, the communities you operate within).
Everyone can win®. #CSRmatters #CSR #CSRtalk #EveryoneCanWin #ActOnClimate #ClimateAction #EcoNews #EarthMonth
Click here to receive our Corporate Social Responsibility e-letter.