“…shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand.”
(Matthew 7:26, King James Bible)
There can be little doubt that mankind and indeed the whole planet is facing an environmental crisis. Whether that crisis is brought to a head by global warming, ozone depletion, acid rain, tropical deforestation or top soil erosion, remains to be seen. In this essay we will examine the role business is playing in creating this crisis and what it can do to help protect the environment in the future.
Business produces the goods and services that meet our needs, wants and desires. It is this process that has lead to much of the destruction of the environment that has taken place. This damage continues on a daily basis. However, business is not solely to blame for this; governments and consumers must take some of the responsibility. It is governments who regulate the business community both legally and economically and have allowed this environmental destruction to take place. Consumers must accept their share of the blame as it is they who have consented to consume goods and services produced in an environmentally damaging way. That said it is the unique and close relationship between the production process and the environment that places the burden of environmental protection squarely on the shoulders of business.
The manufacture of products and delivery of services for consumption involve necessarily the usage and conversion of raw materials. This process unavoidably produces waste. Indeed the processed product itself is destined to become waste as well. That is the nature of consumer goods; they are purchased, used and replaced. The production of the product will consume most of the resources, but even its utilization and eventual disposal consumes more. There is no escaping the fact that what goes in, must (inevitably) come out as waste. The fact is that resource...