In this blog post, I would like to share with you some insights on the responsibility of business enterprises towards the environment. I find this discourse very relevant because we live in a time when the care of the environment has been relegated to the periphery of importance. In our time, the environment is harmed in several ways. We have lost sight of the fact that as human beings, we have the primary responsibility to take care of the environment.
The instruction to care for the environment is one of the biblical injunctions that is as old as creation itself. After God had created man, he gave man two instructions. The first was to increase and multiply, and the second was to fill the earth and subdue it, and to have dominion over all the living creatures (Genesis 1:28). By asking man to subdue and have dominion over all the earth, God was asking man to simply be the caretaker and steward of the earth. This subduing does not mean exploitation of the environment by industry, business, and technology as is done today. Rather, it means that man has to overcome every sign of the chaotic forces in various spheres of life, and lead this world into its God-appointed destiny.
Regrettably, human beings have already deviated from this God-given injunction. We now exploit the same environment that was entrusted to us to cater for. Today, the issue of climate change has become a global concern. We have lost sight of our responsibility to the environment. Most businesses and industries carry out their operations without thinking about the effects of their operational activities on the environment. They focus more on the income that accrues from their business while neglecting the human person. One thing we have to keep in mind is that whatever we do to nature, nature has a way of returning that same offer to us. If we treat the environment kindly, the environment will be kind to us. But if we abuse the environment, the environment will find a way to revolt against.
The present case of flooding in Nigeria which has displaced many families and killed many people is a good example of nature’s reaction to man’s actions towards nature. For over a decade now, no year passes without Nigeria experiencing devastating episodes of floods. Environmental experts have identified poor urban planning, poor waste management and non-existent drainage system as some of the major causes of flooding in Nigeria. People dispose refuse indiscriminately and eventually, the refuse is washed into the oceans and water channels posing a threat to human life, aquatic animals and blocking the water channels making it difficult for water to flow freely.
Businesses and firms are not also left out in this environmental malady. Industries are the highest polluters of the environment. The oil spillage and soothe pollution in the oil-producing states of Niger-Delta have serious health hazards yet, these oil companies responsible for these emissions carry on with their business without any concern for life. Carbon emission from telecommunication companies and masts is another way in which industries abuse the environment. Deforestation and bush burning are also ways in which businesses harm the environment in which we live.
We need to realize that we have responsibilities to the environment. Since human beings live in the environment, whenever we abuse the environment, it has a correlative effect on the human person. Businesses should learn not to place profit ahead of human life. A business that is responsible and ethical is a business that is profitable. Lastly, as future managers and business owners, we have to take the responsibility to care about our environment. By taking care of the environment, we take care of the whole humanity too.