It was another beautiful day in LBS, but today I was sitting in a sustainability class. This was the first time I was going to care about sustainability.
Prior to my MBA at LBS, I heard conversations on climate change and sustainability, but did not care to know what they talked about. I may be like several other people; thinking that climate change referred to just regular rainfall, or a change in the climate and I felt it was normal and was not a thing to be bothered about.
I criticized a public figure that went for a summit to talk about climate change affecting Nigeria.
An image was presented to us and the facilitator of the class asked for my opinion. Without hesitation, I said, “this is too radical.” “How can I think about environment before I think about my business?”
The facilitator continued by describing what sustainable development meant for a company; the definition broke me and my preconceptions. I later realized that, climate change is just a subset of the environment. I felt that the public figure should have talked on the other elements of sustainability too because, it is a big deal.
What Does Sustainability Mean For A Company?
A company is sustainable when it thinks about how its present actions affect the future productivity of its environment. The truth is, no company operates in isolation, the company operates first in an environment. The nd is part of the environment and even if you were a master of creativity and did not want to operate like other companies and put your business in the air or in space, it is still an environment that you must care about. Once the physical environment is not conducive, you can barely thrive in business.
We should begin to see that every action we take has a direct impact on the environment. When I talk about environment, I am referring to climate, land, water, air and everything that is in the environment.
I realized in that moment, the numerous times I took environmental practices for granted. Poor practices like poor refuse disposal, misuse of toxins and chemicals, burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.
and how our actions and inactions as a people affect the environment in several ways.
What Happens When We Don’t Take Care of Our Environment?
A common example is the Niger Delta region in Nigeria.
Bayelsa state, Delta and some other communities once offered rich harvest for farmers and fishermen; then oil companies arrived and worked environmental damage.
The environment became hazardous, leaving severe impacts on lives, livelihood and the environment. Our rivers cannot produce fishes anymore, farmlands yield contaminated crops, even the air is polluted- people breathe in toxic materials.
I mean, in 2012, there was a report that stated that 16,000 babies died within the first month of life because of oil pollution in the Niger Delta. This shows that our negligence to care for the environment we operate in, will render an impact on the environment, which comes back to affect us.
Sustainable development meets human development goals. By sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources that the economy and society depend.
It meets present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Let us think sustainability, let us stand and protect our earth so that it can work for us. Earth can only take care of us, when we take care of it.
The next time you want to take act an action, ask yourself- is this sustainable? Have I considered the impact on the environment? Yes, your business operates in an environment to meet the needs of the society. You must consider these before you even come up with your business plan.