Today, our oceans are suffering more and more damage at the hands of large corporations that seem to have no regard for the severe harm that they’re causing. This attitude of making business-related ambition the top priority—even at the expense of the environment—is one of the main threats to the ocean, its inhabitants, and the humans who live in close contact with it.
Thankfully, there is hope for corporations and their ability to reverse their negative impact on the ocean. A concept called corporate social responsibility has the potential to alter the disheartening attitudes and actions of corporations and get them committed to protecting the environment around them.
Having a clear understanding of how corporations are currently harming the ocean and the power that corporate social responsibility has to change this can provide one with a more nuanced understanding of our environment and its future.
Here is how proper corporate social responsibility can help save our oceans.
How Corporations are Harming Our Oceans
To get a deeper grasp of the ocean’s precarious situation, it’s important to understand the ways that corporations are having a negative impact on them. Here are some of the key ways that corporations are harming the ocean.
Trash and Plastic
One of the most upsetting negative impacts that corporations have on the ocean is the overwhelming amount of trash that ends up out at sea and on beaches. In particular, single-use plastics are beginning to fill the ocean at an alarming rate. Single-use plastics include items such as shopping bags, straws, and bottles.
Unfortunately, though the large corporations making and selling these products are aware of this pollution, only a few minor efforts have been made by them to solve the problem. Given that corporations are still able to sell their single-use plastic products, they don’t feel incentivized to change any of their operations unless it begins to negatively impact their sales and business-related goals.
Anyone who lives nearby to a corporate factory is aware of the never-ceasing billows of smoke being emitted from these operations. This smoke is caused by the burning of fossil fuels, which is a popular energy source utilized by corporations. While the burning of fossil fuels has an incredibly negative effect on air quality and the atmosphere, many are unaware that is extremely harmful to the ocean as well.
Over the last decades, the ocean has become more acidic as a result of the increased use of fossil fuels. As the sea absorbs more emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, the more devastated ecosystems in the oceans will become. Though many corporations are well aware of the overwhelmingly negative impact of burning fossil fuels, they continue to utilize it as it is cost-effective, and they don’t want to go through the trouble of changing their operations.
What Is Corporate Social Responsibility?
Corporate social responsibility is a concept that has been gaining more traction in recent years. Put simply, it is a practice that corporations that profit from natural resources engage in to balance out their actions and have a beneficial impact on the world. These beneficial practices can include initiatives to improve social justice, programs to help communities, and the alteration of business processes to lessen one’s negative impact on the environment.
While those who care about the environment obviously view corporate social responsibility as a great practice, one may wonder why corporations would feel compelled to have a sudden change of heart. There are various reasons behind this growing adoption of corporate social responsibility by corporations.
The main reasons include a greater social responsibility due to changing consumer priorities and a reduction of costs in some environmentally friendly processes.
Today, consumers are more aware than they ever have been of the negative effects that corporations can have on the environment. As a result, many consumers are cutting back on purchasing products from corporations that show that they have no interest in cutting their environmental impact.
In order to lose less sales, corporations are now incentivized to act in socially responsible ways to appeal to consumers. While the changes in environmental impact that corporations are having isn’t changing due to altruistic intentions, the fact remains that this is a great way to incentivize these entities to reduce their negative environmental impact.
In addition to wanting to appeal to consumers, many corporations have invested in cleaner forms of energy due to a reduction in costs. While one would hope that corporations would seek to explore industrial hygiene out of a love for the environment, the fact remains that even if corporations are incentivized by money the impact of their altered energy sources is still overwhelmingly positive.
How Corporate Social Responsibility Can Save the Oceans
When it comes to protecting the oceans, corporate social responsibility has the power to substantially decrease the amount of harm that corporations are causing on the ocean. When it comes to single-use plastic, corporations are now more on the hook with consumers when it comes to ocean pollution. Studies can now show which corporations are having the most significant negative impact on the ocean due to pollution. As such, corporations are becoming more incentivized to deal with the issue of their products ending up in the ocean since it now has the power to substantially affect their sales.
Though many corporations are still utilizing fossil fuels to power their operations, many are beginning to explore cleaner energy options such as solar and wind. Though upfront costs of installing the infrastructure to utilize clean energy sources may seem high, corporations would likely save significant amounts of money in the long run. This is due to the fact that these forms of energy are becoming cheaper to harness and utilize with each passing year.
Once clean energy becomes significantly cheaper than fossil fuels, there is likely nothing that can stop corporations from investing in these clean energy sources and improving their industrial hygiene. This will help curb the amount of fossil fuel emissions that oceans absorb and will help save many ecosystems that are currently at risk.
It’s Time for Corporations To Be Accountable
While there are many various factors contributing to the deterioration of our oceans, corporations have played a significant role in polluting and altering their ability to house certain ecosystems. Thankfully, corporate social responsibility has begun to help corporations change their ways and be more careful with how their operations affect the environment.
While corporations may still be incentivized by money rather than altruism, it is still incredibly positive and beneficial that they have found reasons to start caring about their impact on the world around them. Though corporate social responsibility hasn’t become an integral aspect of every organization yet, it is more than likely more and more corporations will start engaging in the practice as we move deeper into the future.