”Do well and do good.”
This is a phrase you may hear a lot from certain company leaders today. People start to notice that if we do nothing for the environment now, we will have nothing to fight for in the future. The world is becoming greener and corporations are turning their values and models with it. It’s fashionable, wise and good for the business.
In February 2014 the EU took action and made corporate social responsibility from voluntary to mandatory. This means that large listed companies are required to report on their environmental and social impacts. In Finland there has been also a directive about environmental reporting in the financial statement from 2003.
I may be little too naïve, but I hope that if laws chance, the companies way of working will chance too – maybe slowly but still. We must make companies realize that customers are well-aware and we want real information from them. If companies do their reporting well, customers trust them more and want to use their products more easily. The number of organisations that are seeking information from their suppliers on environmental performance is increasing too. Everyone wants environmental reports and information from companies.
Environmental reporting is still a pretty new thing and there are flaws. Because of the fragmentation it’s sometimes hard to compare one company to another. Certain companies may just “greenwash” their image and make everything seem better than it is. That’s why we as customers have to be careful of what we believe and really find out about facts.
Because of the “greenwashing” there is still a question about should laws be stricter or not. If laws about environmental reporting become stricter it could feel like too much of a guardianship. Because of the stricter laws also the companies who don’t care about the environmental things would be forced to do something against their will. It could lead to lying, cheating and even worse results. Maybe there shouldn’t be laws, only regulations, and those who want can follow them. Then customers could see right away what the values of the company are.
I think the good way to really know if company is considering these things is to watch if they have taken some voluntary actions towards the sustainable work. For example if I see a company with ISO 14100-sertificate or EMAS-system, I know they have been done the right things.
Only those who really care about the environment are doing more than law says.
References: Abe, Joseph & Dempsey, Patricia 1998. Business ecology. Giving your organization the natural edge. Chaplier, Jerome 2014. EU to force large companies to report on environmental and social impacts. The Guardian. http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/eu-reform-listed-companies-report-environmental-social-impact. Read 8.10.2014. Lampikoski, Tommi & Sippo, Johanna 2013. Vihreä aalto. Kauppakamari, Helsinki Niskala, Mikael & Sjöblom, Henrik 1999. Ympäristöraportointi. Luotettavan ympäristöinformaation tuottaminen ja hyödyntäminen. KHT-yhdistyksen palvelu Oy, Helsinki.