The changing mindset…from responding to social and ethical pressure to receiving sustainable profits from the business of environmental management

by Joseph Rostand Olinga Biwole (ELP 2017) | Country Program Officer, International Fund for Agricultural Development, Cameroon

The industrial revolution have had a great impact on economies in developed and developing world. Some pros of this important stage are that it brought more efficiency in productive systems, reduced prices, improvement in jobs opportunities, quality of life, etc. and at the same time many opportunities for continuous learning by doing during many decades of practice. This process allows sound research and documentation of negative impacts of industrial development. Taking into account the rapid increase in world’s population, many phenomenon appeared among which urbanization, pollution, loss or farming with employment opportunities in industries and cities.

In this context, the question is whether or not the world will evolve on the basis of naturally occurring demo-environmental regulation. Thus the debate on environmental management is mainly focused on ethical and social aspects. Meanwhile the situation should evolve in a non-reversible manner at individual and corporate levels. Interpretations of environmental issues are at the cornerstone of discussions from local to global levels. As human beings, reactions are based on interpretations. The superiority feeling of businesses due to the general dependency of human beings to their products is constantly being challenged. The profitability of any production process being the main basis for a change in mind-set. The judging mind-set is the one that guides ethical issues. Many businesses make efforts to consider their environmental impacts and mitigate them. The next stage is involving the majority of individuals, businesses and states in concrete growth oriented mind-set towards sustainable environmental management.

Yet the profitability of a business should mainly be evaluated considering long lasting production processes. Strategic planning may therefore become the best way to ensure that sustainability is the best investment for any business. Therefore internal and external factors should be considered when analysing decision making processes in business sector. For example the shift in energy use in industries and its implications is already a huge issue in debate. Environmental management is a great business opportunity in urban and rural areas not only through innovations but also for sustainable profitability it provides.

Improvements in technologies for environmental management provide new approaches to production and waste management. These approaches allow economies of scale in factors of production. Those who intend to have competitive advantage for their businesses in the current evolving global economy should invest in these technologies with long lasting reduction in negative impacts of their activities. The readiness to invest in innovation should characterise any forward-looking businessman. What is also important to note is that new technologies for environmental management provide opportunities in developed and developing world by providing solutions to issues at local levels with great global impact. It is therefore the best moment to share these technologies to involve the majority of the world’s population in this movement of business of environmental management. In rural areas for example there are numerous opportunities in value chains considering not only well managed timber exploitation but mainly non wood forest products. All these innovation will at the same time guarantee sustainable world for all. Environmental management and profitability are not conflicting issues but rather the best way to ensure sustainable profits and positive outcomes for individuals, businesses and nations.