OPINION: Sustainability—The absolute essential for business and commerce today! Are we ready for the transition?

OPINION: Sustainability—The absolute essential for business and commerce today! Are we ready for the transition?
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In the last ten years, we have witnessed some of the most devastating impacts of climate change. Global warming continues to break temperature records every month, plastic pollution has become a humongous problem, and species are going extinct at an unprecedented rate.
Clearly, sustainability and environmental friendliness have become critical to our existence!
People have consciously started changing their buying habits. The United Nations also emphasizes the need for “responsible production and consumption” habits and has made it one of its sustainable development goals (SDG 12) for 2030. Many people are gradually gravitating toward cruelty-free products, opting for all-natural options that cause minimal harm to the environment. Undoubtedly, the pandemic has played a vital role in making this change happen.
However, such discussions often lose momentum along the way when it comes to execution at industrial levels. Most traditional industries have established money cycles and tight margins, making it a huge challenge to implement sustainable practices. Making a transition towards sustainability successfully and profitably would require fundamental changes to the entire systems that have been bettered over the years.
It might seem like a cost-intensive disruption for most, but this perspective is short-sighted. In the longer run, the benefits of an eco-friendly and sustainable business world will be reaped by everyone alike. All the challenges that may arise are workable given the willingness and support of the stakeholders involved.
The world is suffering the wrath of mother nature brought about by climate change. In times like these, the consumer plays a massive role in driving industries to adopt the right practices and do the right thing. It is always the first few years that are most difficult. This applies to any kind of change in an established pattern. Once the habits, practices, and systems are in place, there’s only upward momentum from thereon.
While, on one hand, consumers are aware and slowly learning to make the right choices, on the other, businesses and industries need to play catch up and pull up their socks if they wish to survive and grow.
Here are three reasons why businesses should go sustainable in 2022:
  1. Trade and commerce are the single most significant direct contributor to climate change and global warming. While this planet will continue to exist with or without humans as it has done for millions of years, it is the survival of humans and our fellow life forms that will be impacted as trade and commerce continue to alter our natural environment. The rise in consumption and the resultant increase in production leads to depletion of resources and raw materials without much emphasis on restoration. A drawback to global businesses, supply chains, and open markets is the stress on the resources and their depletion. Without a plan to restore them, we are not far from the day when there won’t be any left
  2. Production of raw materials like livestock to meet excessive demand leads to harmful practices like deforestation and animal cruelty. The meat industry is very resource-intensive, the land required to raise cattle for leather and meat commensurate with its demand is no longer enough, and forests are being burnt or chopped down to clear land for livestock farming. The massive amounts of water and food that goes into the breeding and raising of cattle for the meat, dairy and leather industries are enough to wipe off the hunger problem from the face of the Earth
  3. Gaseous emissions from factories have a direct long-term impact on the local population's health. Air Quality Indices have shown an unbelievable deterioration across the world and yet companies use waste incinerators that release toxic fumes into the environment which in turn cause serious health issues among the people dwelling in the vicinity. Some cities saw people donning face masks decades before the pandemic broke out due to air pollution. If this continues, humans will no longer be able to walk freely in the open without supplementary supply of quality air.
From the industrial revolution to the rise of social media, societies have undergone fundamental changes in how people live and understand their place in the world. People often resist transformation because their fear of losing what they have is more powerful than knowing they might gain something better. Wanting to retain things as they are – known as status quo bias – explains most individual decisions, from sticking with incumbent politicians to not enrolling in retirement or health plans even when the alternatives may be rationally better.
If we as a species still do not fully understand how to live on a perfectly abundant, all-providing planet, how do we expect to colonize and thrive on a different, unconducive, and possibly hostile planet?

Vivek Baherwani is the Founder & CEO of TRIVID
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are of the author/interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of Business Insider India. The article has been partly edited for length and clarity.
This column is part of June 2022’s month-long awareness campaign on the theme “ Only One Earth: Sustaining People, Planet and Prosperity ” by Business Insider India’s Sustainability Insider .