Most companies, large or small, choose to focus green initiatives in CSR on four major areas – reviewing environmental impact, reduction of environmental impact, promote energy efficiency and conservation of water. The process invariably starts with an assessment of the environmental impact of the company’s overall operations including raw material sourcing, manufacturing, distribution and administration. Once the impact has been assessed either in terms of carbon footprint or greenhouse gas emissions, the next step is to formulate methods to reduce this by a measurable quantity within a certain period. Promoting energy efficiency has the two-fold advantage of conserving non-renewable sources of energy and cutting operating costs. Many companies undertake retrofitting efforts or installing sources of renewable energy as a part of this conservation effort. Water conservation by promoting efficient use of water and recycling waste in an effort to prevent contamination of groundwater is another major component of green CSR initiatives.
In addition to this, companies may also go in for implementing new environmentally friendly policies on a company-wide basis and this may include all the major factors mentioned in addition to ethical labor policies and environmental disclosure. Companies have embraced green CSR by promoting green restaurants (McDonald’s), hiring executives to formulate green CSR policies (Microsoft) and integration of green CSR into business strategy (IBM). Many businesses now recognize that it is important to get into green CSR at an early stage because in addition to stabilizing the environment, it makes sound business sense. Boeing, for example, was one of the first companies to invest in fuel efficient jet engines at times when oil was cheap, and is now poised to supply fuel-efficient engines to the aeronautical industry.
Insider Green Nov. 2009 (www.insidergreen.com)