Local Businesses, Galway Chamber of Commerce, NUIG, GMIT, Local and National Policymakers
The principal model we have had for producing goods and services since the Industrial Revolution creates incredible amounts of waste and pollution and is, by definition, the very opposite of sustainable. Thankfully, in recent decades there have been moves to make products and services in ways that reduce negative environmental impacts.
However, “sustainability” or “green” is not just a recent niche trend. It is very much here to stay and is already becoming mainstream. Companies are facing greater demand from customers for greener products and services. Some Companies have been engaging in green-wash where the intention is to dupe potential customers into thinking they are green whereas other companies are more genuine in backing up their claims.
Many prominent businesses across many different industry sectors recognise the strong business case for making sustainability an important objective for any company. The benefits for businesses include:
– Lower resource, production and energy costs
– Improved sales, brand recognition, company reputation and stronger public trust
– Greater attractiveness to talented employees
– Greater satisfaction amongst workers (greater retention and a more engaged and motivated workforce)
– Enhanced competitiveness
– Greater compliance with national and international regulations
– Reduced environmental, health and safety impacts
– Stronger long-term business viability and success
Although many companies have made great strides along the path to sustainability, there is still a lot of scope for businesses to become even more sustainable. Too many companies address sustainability in an ad hoc and tokenistic manner when a properly coordinated and integrated approach is needed. One such approach that aims to be truly sustainable is the ‘Cradle to Cradle’ (C2C) model, which analyses the full lifecycle of a product. ‘Cradle to Cradle’ is a holistic economic, industrial and social method that seeks to create systems that are not only efficient but also essentially waste free. It is a method that looks to nature as a model for making things, in that there is no waste in nature.
Initiatives that would promote sustainable production and services include:
– An eco-rating system that gives consumers information on how green a product or service is.
– Greater research and development (R&D) within our universities, institutes of technology and businesses into green manufacturing, production and services.
The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, San Francisco, California, USA
Laboratory for Manufacturing and Sustainability, University of California, Berkeley, USA