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It’s time to start holding businesses accountable.

We’ve heard it all before, the big banks, the telco’s, the fashion industry – they all promise to change, that they’re going to go green, cut down on their greenhouse gas emissions, go plastic free and help the environment, and they’re going to do it by the year 2065. 

They’ll implement minimal changes over the next few decades and continue to harm the planet, by 2065 it won’t be like that. Our great grandchildren and their desolate earth will reap the benefits of their changes.

There never seems to be immediate changes that big companies are willing to take when it comes to becoming more sustainable. Why is it always destined to some future goal and why can’t changes be made now?? Why do companies still insist on producing non biodegradable plastic packaging, harming the environment with non sustainable supply chain methods, and coming out with products that will end up in landfills and oceans?

As a society of consumers, we must hold big businesses accountable and encourage them to take immediate action. In the meantime, support the businesses that are already demonstrating that they take sustainability seriously. 

Aldi is a brilliant example of a business that has already taken steps toward a sustainable future. They continue to implement changes into their corporate policy and in stores all around the world.

Aldi Australia says, “We are constantly working on initiatives that will help us be more environmentally friendly.”

Here are some ways in which Aldi Australia are reducing their footprint, as stated on their website.

  • Powering all operations with 100% renewable electricity which has reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 85%;
  • Generating clean energy onsite through an extensive solar installation program; 
  • Committing to send zero waste to landfill by 2025 with a target of zero food waste to landfill by 2023;
  • Reducing single-use plastics across the Aldi range and introducing more sustainable packaging including paper straws on drink cartons, cardboard punnets for produce, paper stemmed cotton buds and recyclable and compostable tableware.
  • Conserving and optimizing water use.

These are all solutions that Aldi is already using or introducing within the next few years. If a company as big as Aldi can roll out these practices in such a short period of time, it isn’t unfathomable that with a little effort others can too.

A few contributing factors as to why large companies around the world are reluctant or even opposed to going green may include the following:

  • Profit loss. There’s no question that money is a major player in why more companies around the world don’t take immediate action when it comes to reducing their impact on the environment. Not only is the cost of implementing major changes across the board a very costly exercise, but sustainability in its essence encourages society to reconsider their consumption, and if we are consuming less overall, then businesses aren’t making as much money. 
  • Existing relationships with other stakeholders or vendors who aren’t looking to lessen their footprint is another likely reason for the slow roll out of sustainability. Not all businesses are on the same page with their ethos’ and it might be the harsh reality that some partnerships cannot be lost over something like wanting to go green.
  • It’s all well and good to project a greener future for businesses, but are there readily available resources to replace those that aren’t sustainable, and are those resources reliable and suitable solutions? There could be a number of businesses that are waiting until more sustainable options become available before making the switch.

How to speed up the process

Now that we have an understanding of why some businesses might be holding back, let’s see what simple steps can be taken to get the ball rolling sooner.

  • Companies can easily set up recycling and energy conservation programs at work for their employees. Things like used paper, plastics, food waste, and even old office furniture and machinery can all be recycled, and getting employees involved so that they are passionate about becoming more sustainable at work might result in some incredible changes, like this one! An employee of Wal-Mart noticed that one of the vending machines in the staff break room constantly had a light on. The store began unplugging the light source and that small step saved Wal-Mart a staggering $1 million dollars in energy costs.
  • Implementing simple sustainable work practices is another step in the right direction. Things like carpooling to meetings or offering an allowance for staff to use public transportation for their commute, shutting down all equipment at the end of the day, and enforcing regulations around printing only essential paperwork can all contribute towards a more sustainable business model.
  • Purchasing from and aligning with companies that have strong sustainable practices or products is also another simple step that businesses can take. Prioritizing those connections and building relationships with those who are successful in the sustainability sector is going to majorly benefit both companies and will show that your business is serious about doing your bit for the earth.

Suggesting these steps in our workplaces, supporting businesses that follow these practices or who have their own set of established sustainable strategies, and avoiding those who don’t, is the way to hold businesses accountable. As consumers, and supporters of going green, it’s up to us to use our voices and make it known that we want to see more and more businesses take steps to a more sustainable model. Through our commitment to the environment and our ability to choose to support businesses that align with our beliefs, these businesses will hopefully listen and start to implement change. 

Beneko’s responsible marketplace is available in 28 EU countries & the UK. Choose an Eco-Friendly recycle option for your unwanted devices, or get cashback. Just download the Beneko App.