One of the biggest challenges today is to reduce the environmental impact of companies and consumers. It is believed that by 2025, air pollution could be to blame for more than 6 million premature deaths a year. If the pace of manufacturing and current consumption continues, we could be putting future generations at risk.
As entrepreneurs, we have a responsibility to reduce our environmental impact and create sustainable business practices. Below you will find three industries that could reduce environmental pollution significantly.
According to the United Nations, approximately 1.3 billion tons of food annually are wasted. Sustainable solutions that reduce the intermediaries between producer and consumer have had a lot of boom in recent years. Companies have focused on better predicting demand so that there is no more than what consumers require.
A sad fact is that organic waste in the U.S. is a leading source of methane emissions. In developed countries, food is a plentiful resource we readily squander, yet our overproduction and underconsumption ruin the world.
Sustainable solutions like farm-to-table dining and Soylent are innovations that will hopefully encourage even more businesses to adopt more innovative food practices. In the meantime, companies can better predict demand (to avoid producing more food than people will actually consume) and suppress our appetite for red meat.
Before being donated to charity, most consumer clothing usually ends up in garbage dumps. Companies contribute to this by encouraging consumers in these unsustainable practices. In many cases, more than what is consumed is produced, so new clothes are in the garbage. Instead of manufacturing new clothes, companies should look for recycling and re-circulation options for products in good condition.
Retailers are complicit in encouraging wasteful practices. Inaccurate trend forecasting often leads to excess supply. The leftover clothes later get to the clearance aisle, where impulsive shoppers purchase dozens of items at a steep discount. Instead of manufacturing new clothing, companies should aim to recycle and re-circulate any items that are still like-new.
Startups such as Rent The Runway and ThredUp bring the experience of shopping for secondhand clothing and renting expensive items for one-time use online. With fewer clothes being produced and more items reused, we might begin to appreciate the things we already have instead of discarding them whenever something new comes along.
Our insatiable desire for faster, more innovative, and more energy-efficient technology is arguably counter-productive. While we thrive thanks to lightning-speed Internet connections, cell phones that are smarter than the average human being, and other neat gadgets that make our lives feel and seem more accessible, we are exhausting several non-renewable resources.
Despite all of that, Americans still manage to toss about 50 million computers each year, nearly 30 million TVs, and 140 million mobile devices. Sadly, we only manage to recycle 25% of it all. If more consumers resisted the urge to upgrade to the latest iPhone, the world would be a much better place.
Business profits should not have such a high social cost. The more entrepreneurs take responsibility for protecting the environment by giving consumers better choices about what they buy, the more likely future generations will enjoy a healthier world than we live in today.
More entrepreneurs take responsibility for caring for the environment by giving consumers more choices about what they buy. Future generations will have more opportunities to enjoy a healthier world.
Every person should be focused on leaving the world a better place. However, this should be especially true of businesses, whether in their products or how they produce them. If every business owner put a bit of effort into it, the environment would reap the benefits greatly, as would humankind.
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