Social Responsibility and Environmental Protection
The public’s concern about the consequences that economic activities have on the environment has increased significantly in recent years across the world. Increasing global warming problems, ozone depletion and loss of biodiversity have contributed to raising awareness of the need to implement measures that enable sustainable development, so that different pillars of society find a balance between economic growth and social interest in preserving a healthy environment. Big ecological disasters have prompted a global debate on the responsibility of companies and stressed the need for their involvement in the process of resolving key issues related to environmental protection.
Every business, like any other human activity, has a certain impact on the environment, and therefore the initiative to promote social responsibility in the domain of the natural environment is of equal importance to all companies, regardless of their size and type of economic activity. In this context, CSR implies companies’ efforts to establish a balance between the need for economic growth and the preservation of a healthy natural environment for future generations.
Having faced the challenge of integrating the principles of environmental sustainability into their regular business, many companies have recognized that this is the area that can present new opportunities and advantages in the marketplace for them and lead to increased efficiency and reduced operating costs.
Experience shows that the companies that have adopted environmental standards are more competitive in the international marketplace in medium and long term, since environmental standards, promote innovation and modernization of processes and products and lead to cleaner technologies. The use of cleaner technologies can especially be linked to improving efficiency in the use of available resources.
Additionally, in a growing global economy, where the Internet and the media daily illuminate business practices around the world, companies are increasingly judged on the basis of their relationship with the environment – consumers are now undoubtedly better informed, more ecologically aware and more sensitive, which encourages businesses to develop new, environmentally friendly products bringing them advantages on the market; Business partners, financial institutions and banks, apart from economic indicators, as an important criteria for cooperation, introduce environmental protection and reduce of ecological risks. The legislation, both European and local, are contributing to this, which in terms of environmental protection is becoming more restrictive and demanding.
Environmental projects initiated and implemented by the companies go a step further than legal obligations require, thereby promoting “green” economic growth. Prior to making strategic decisions, companies carry out assessments of the impact of their business on the environment, define key aspects in which their impacts are greatest and anticipate measures to prevent or mitigate adverse impacts.
The results of these projects can be quantified and compared, since measurement and monitoring techniques have advanced significantly in this area. Many socially responsible projects are dedicated to the same environmental protection expectations being set towards suppliers and partners of companies, as a necessary prerequisite for co-operation.