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The rapid rise in industrialization has given rise to the use of fossil fuel as the main source of fuel for our industries. Ever since the time of the industrial revolution in the world, the main source of fuel for these industries and the supporting inputs has been fossil fuel. Fossil fuel has been classified as the leading environmental polluter of our time. It has caused the global warming phenomenon which has given rise to changing climate. Starting with prolonged droughts which have affected many developing countries where the population is affected by unending hunger and the demand for food aids is ever rising in this world. Then is the flooding phenomenon of El nino and the accompanying Katrina and other hurricanes. It is estimated the world is yet to experience the worst of environmental pollution if necessary steps are not taken. Recent surveys have shown that the ice caps are disappearing very fast and the level of water in seas is fast rising. Indeed, the effects of climate change due to the emissions of carbon dioxide gas to the atmosphere are affecting every one of us, and this calls for consulting efforts in reducing the emission. This gives rise to the concept of social responsibility (John and Henry, 2007).
Corporate Social responsibility
Corporate Social responsibility calls for commitment to meet social obligations. Social responsibility is a more practical way of giving back to the community in which we all belong. It is a concept that calls for us to care about our surroundings. According to Roberst and Alito (2007), the concept has ignited a heated debate about its need and if it would achieve the desired results. Most companies in the United States have been against the concept although the majority of the companies in the rest of the world have agreed to the concept of cutting down the emission. Imagine a company dealing manufacture of chemicals and uses sulfur dioxide as one of the chemical ingredients. As we are all aware sulfur dioxide is a harmful gas that produces a foul smell hence the environment around the industry would be inhabitable. It means that the chemical will collude that any metallic material in its surrounding. This calls for the corporate responsibility of the company to answer to the problems facing the community around it of which it is the direct cause.
The concept of social responsibility is a new turn in the world and it has risen due to many problems that are facing the world currently. The last century’s economic drive was based on individual companies or country achievement and it never took into consideration the effects of our activities on our neighbors. One of the biggest drivers of social responsibility has been the climate change that has taken place in the world. The effects of climate change have not affected the developed countries alone but it has also affected the developing world and in a much serious way than the developed world. The developed countries with their industries polluting the environment ten folds the developed countries have responded in a way by accepting their part and are in the process of cutting their gas emission to the environment. It beats our logic that countries in Africa should be suffering from prolonged droughts and floods while some of the countries themselves have very little carbon emissions to the atmosphere. This issue of gas pollution has brought about the much-debated issues on low carbon innovations. This has been claimed as the best guide for companies to show their social responsibility to save the environment. Many organizations are still struggling with the concept of colportage social responsibility and they don’t know where to start and where to end. There have been steps that have been recognized as necessary to an effective social responsibility (John and Henry, 2007).
It begins with the evaluation of the contribution a country or a company is making toward energy and climate change. The areas of energy spending should be outline and carbon footprint outlined carefully. This should be the guide for the necessary steps that are to be taken toward climate change. This is followed by careful monitoring of the current system and drafting of the resolved systems to be used to make the environment safe first for the workers and then for the surrounding. This calls for the improvement of environmental credentials. There should be a thorough evaluation of the transport systems of the company since transport makes a large part of the carbon emission. The carbon emission static of the transport department should be laid down and carefully evaluated. Other safe means of transport should be evaluated and which should lead to less emission of carbon dioxide gas. The company should evaluate the waste disposal and recycling strategies. It is to be accounted that wastes especially degradable one contribute a substantial amount of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. A company should come up with ways of reducing carbon emissions through the recycling of material. Any recyclable material should be used to reduce the amount of garbage that is being dumped. The dumping site for company waste should also reflect the concept of social responsibilities. They should not be dumped near residential areas. Each company should evaluate its supply chain. They should ensure that the supply chain meets the environmentally drafted measure. Unnecessary burning of carbon should be discouraged. For example, individuals should be encouraged to cycle or walk for short distances instead of burning gasoline in their cars or motorbikes. Lastly, the company should evaluate its policy on the involvement of the customers and workers in meeting its laid down social responsibilities (John and Henry, 2007).
Response to carbon emission
According to Emily Flynn Venkat (2007), the issue of carbon emission and climate change was first echoed in the later 1890s and kept was not a concern to the world until recently when the ice caps started disappearing and the water level started to rise in the seas. Governments all over the world responded by making a call for consulting efforts to cut down the emission of carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere.
Series of meetings were held and in 1997, the Kyoto protocol was born. According to Tietenberg and Nick (2004), it targeted to encourage the industrialized nations to cut the emission of gas in the atmosphere. Immediately it received criticism and the United States the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide gas to the atmosphere refuse to ratify the protocol citing negative effects to its economy.
According to Andrew Bounds (2006), most companies in the European Union have shown the way and the emission caps are tighter. According to James Cameron (2006), the European Unions’ announcement of caps was a date to decide for the earth. This was one of the government responses to the phenomenon of carbon emission and some governments have ratified the protocol. According to Montgomery Walker (2006), the world also came up with the concept of carbon trade where a country is allowed to emit a certain quantity of carbon dioxide gas in exchange for a certain number of trees planted. Trees absorb carbon dioxide reducing its quantities in the environment. This was another broad move by the world bodies to help fight the problem of carbon emission.
We also have examples of many companies in the world which has responded to carbon emission through several social responsibilities. According to Li Ka-Shang, (2007), Hong Kong Electric Company in China donated $200 000 to be used in tree planting programs and organized the Watson ParknShop which campaigned against plastic bags and reduced carbon emissions for a clean environment. In Canada, Husky Energy contributed C$600,000 towards environmental-related activities. The funds also targeted conservation efforts at Calgary Zoos. In Australia, Cheung Kong Infrastructure contributed $91,000 towards the Tree for Life project to help improve the environment. In Italy for example, 3 Italia company has developed carbon management systems that measure its effort in reducing carbon production. 3 Italia has changed to purchasing electricity from renewable energy sources. During the year 2006, all its offices and around 75% of its base stations switched to green energy reducing about 70% of its total carbon emission. According to Andrew Sentence (2007), British Airways have been able to save 50 million tonnes of carbon dioxide that would have been emitted to the environment through necessary corporate social responsibility from 1990 to 2006.
Individuals have also not been left out in the fight against carbon emission. The Prince of Wales has commissioned a report to determine the carbon print of his entire household including all the residential areas.
It is hence the responsibility of governments, companies, and individuals to reduce the carbon emissions to the atmosphere to save our planet. It calls us to be responsible and mindful of our neighbors. It is time the world started arguing about the issue but rather take action about the issue.
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