Environmental Responsibility Explained

greenhouse gas emissions
Industries and corporations need to acknowledge their impact on the planet. Source: New York Post

Environmental responsibility can be defined as the responsibility of a state or a business for the environment and the duty that it has to perform in a way to keep the environment safe. This is a principle followed by major companies and communities worldwide. This principle allows for implementation of crucial environmental initiatives and keeping the planet clean, safe, and sustainable.

Environment is VODPROM’s top value. Our field of operation has a direct connection with protection of the Earth, and our activities are aimed at building a sustainable environment and increasing the quality of life. This is why we believe it is vital for every business to acknowledge its responsibility in this area.

Why It Matters

With human expansion and the rise of consumer culture, the state of the environment today leaves much to be desired. We cannot continue to use and abuse our world disregarding its sustainability. There is an urgent need to pay more attention to environmental responsibility within every type of business and industry and sustain our environment for future generations.

Industries and corporations need to acknowledge their impact on the planet. They need to understand they are responsible beyond legal and regulatory requirements. However, acknowledging the responsibility largely means taking measures to compensate for it, too. In other words, businesses should work on reducing their impact on the environment along with repairing the damage already done.

Acknowledging environmental responsibility has become an integral element to a company’s public image. Investments in environmental initiatives and working on reducing the business’s carbon footprint gains customer loyalty and boosts the company’s reputation.

What Exactly to Account for

Any human activity produces waste and byproducts. Be it smoke or exhaust fumes released into the atmosphere, or compounds diluted in wastewater that flows to rivers, waste is inevitable. These two make up the major pollution vectors. With low-quality water treatment, heavy metals and toxic compounds from wastewater can drain into natural water bodies. As a result, aquatic life is threatened with contamination and extinction. And humans may be affected as well: it is from natural water bodies that water for domestic use comes from.

Another danger lies in so-called greenhouse gas emission into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, and other gases make up a layer in the atmosphere and prevent the planet from releasing the heat into space. This is how the temperature on the Earth’s surface rises and global warming occurs. According to the IEA, the main CO2 emission sources are transportation (61%), industry, energy, and housing and utility services (IEA, 2021). Climate change cannot be effectively reverted but it can be slowed down and prevented.

unfccc paris agreement
The Paris Agreement determined a new vector for environmental progress. Source: NU Political Review

Net Zero to the Planet’s Hero

In 2015 the Paris agreement was signed at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The agreement determined a new vector for environmental progress. This is when the term net zero came to life. Net zero stands for zero greenhouse gas emission level by a company to be reached by year 2050. The legally binding treaty on climate change was adopted by 196 Parties including the European Union. The Agreement urges businesses, governments, and communities to work to keep the global warming level under 2 degrees Celsius by combatting the greenhouse effect.

Net zero is based on a principle called carbon neutrality. It means reducing carbon-based compounds emission. There are three major ways greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. They are emitted at the production stage, produced during power generation (e.g. at thermal power plants), or released at every stage of product lifetime (purchase of raw materials, transportation, sales, recycling and disposal). To reduce its carbon footprint, a business should compensate for any of these vectors: eliminate greenhouse gas emission during production stage, transition to clean energy, or invest in environment initiatives.

“The […] pathway to this brighter future brings a historic surge in clean energy investment that creates millions of new jobs and lifts global economic growth. Moving the world onto that pathway requires strong and credible policy actions from governments, underpinned by much greater international cooperation.” — Fatih Birol, the IEA Executive Director