Sustainable business, or green business, is an enterprise to be that has minimal negative impact on the global or local environment, community, society, or economy—a business that strives to meet the triple bottom line. Often, sustainable businesses have progressive environmental and human rights policies. In general, business is described as green if it matches the following four criteria:
- It incorporates principles of sustainability into each of its business decisions
- It supplies environmentally friendly products or services that replaces demand for nongreen products and/or services
- It is greener than traditional competition
- It has made an enduring commitment to environmental principles in its business operations
A sustainable business is any organization that participates in environmentally friendly or green activities to ensure that all processes, products, and manufacturing activities adequately address current environmental concerns while maintaining a profit. In other words, it is a business that “meets the needs of the present world without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs It is the process of assessing how to design products that will take advantage of the current environmental situation and how well a company’s products perform with renewable resources.
The Brundtland Report emphasized that sustainability is a three-legged stool of people, planet, and profit. Sustainable businesses with the supply chain try to balance all three through the triple-bottom-line concept—using sustainable development and sustainable distribution to affect the environment, business growth, and the society
Everyone affects the sustainability of the marketplace and the planet in some way. Sustainable development within a business can create value for customers, investors, and the environment. A sustainable business must meet customer needs while, at the same time, treating the environment well.
Green Business has been seen as a possible mediator of economic-environmental relations, and if proliferated, would serve to diversify our economy, even if it has a negligible effect at lowering atmospheric CO2 levels. The definition of "green jobs" is ambiguous, but it is generally agreed that these jobs, the result of Green Business, should be linked to clean energy, and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases. These corporations can be seen as generators of not only "green energy", but as producers of new "materialities" that are the product of the technologies these firms developed and deployed.
A major initiative of sustainable businesses is to eliminate or decrease the environmental harm caused by the production and consumption of their goods. The impact of such human activities in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced can be measured in units of carbon dioxide and is referred to as the carbon footprint. The carbon footprint concept is derived from ecological footprint analysis, which examines the ecological capacity required to support the consumption of products]
Businesses take a wide range of green initiatives. One of the most common examples is the act of "going paperless" or sending electronic correspondence in lieu of paper when possible. On a higher level, examples of sustainable business practices include: refurbishing used products (e.g., tuning up lightly used commercial fitness equipment for resale); revising production processes in order to eliminate waste (such as using a more accurate template to cut out designs); and choosing nontoxic raw materials and processes. For example, Canadian farmers have found that hemp is a sustainable alternative to rapeseed in their traditional crop rotation; hemp grown for fiber or seed requires no pesticides or herbicides. Sustainable business leaders also take into account the life cycle costs for the items they produce. Input costs must be considered in regards to regulations, energy use, storage, and disposal. Designing for the environment (DFE) is also an element of sustainable business. This process enables users to consider the potential environmental impacts of a product and the process used to make that product
The many possibilities for adopting green practices have led to considerable pressure being put upon companies from consumers, employees, government regulators and other stakeholders. Some companies have resorted to greenwashing instead of making meaningful changes, merely marketing their products in ways that suggest green practices. For example, various producers in the bamboo fiber industry have been taken to court for advertising their products as more "green" than they are. Still, countless other companies have taken the sustainability trend seriously and are enjoying profits. The Gort Cloud written by Richard Seireeni, (2009), documents the experiences of sustainable businesses in America and their reliance on the vast but invisible green community, referred to as the gort cloud, for support and a market.
Green investment firms are consequently attracting unprecedented interest. In the UK, for instance, the Green Investment Bank is devoted exclusively to supporting renewable domestic energy. However, the UK and Europe as a whole are falling behind the impressive pace set by developing nations in terms of green development.] Thus, green investment firms are creating more and more opportunities to support sustainable development practices in emerging economies. By providing micro-loans and larger investments, these firms assist small business owners in developing nations who seek business education, affordable loans, and new distribution networks for their "green" products.
Environmental issues in Kenya
Environmental issues in Kenya include deforestation, soil erosion, desertification, water shortage and degraded water quality, flooding, poaching, and domestic and industrial pollution.
Water resources are under pressure from agricultural chemicals and urban and industrial wastes, as well as from use for hydroelectric power. Kenya expects a shortage of water to pose a problem in the coming years. Water-quality problems in lakes, including water hyacinth infestation in Lake Victoria, have contributed to a substantial decline in fishing output and endangered fish species.
Output from forestry also has declined because of resource degradation. Overexploitation over the past three decades has reduced the country’s timber resources by one-half. At present only 2% of the land remains forested, and an estimated 50 square kilometres of forest are lost each year. This loss of forest aggravates erosion, the silting of dams and flooding, and the loss of biodiversity. Among the endangered forests are Kakamega Forest, Mau Forest and Karura Forest. In response to ecological disruption, activists have pressed with some success for policies that encourage sustainable resource use. The 2004 Nobel Peace Prize went to the Kenyan environmentalist, Wangari Maathai, best known for organizing a grassroots movement in which thousands of people were mobilized over the years to plant 30 million trees in Kenya and elsewhere and to protest forest clearance for luxury development. Imprisoned as an opponent of Moi, Maathai linked deforestation with the plight of rural women, who are forced to spend untold hours in search of scarce firewood and water.
There are a wide variety of wildlife species in Kenya, whose habitats are threatened by encroachment of man and the poachers that live in rural Kenya. Michael Werikhe aka Rhino Man, pioneered Kenyan wildlife conservation. Werikhe walked thousands of miles and raised millions of dollars to fund White Rhino conservation projects. The Blue Wildebeest is currently abundant, but like other more endangered species feels the pressure of habitat reduction.
Widespread poverty in many parts of the country has greatly lead to over-exploitation of the limited resources in Kenya. Cutting down of trees to create more land for cultivation, charcoal burning business, quarrying among other social and occupational practices are the major threats of environmental degradation due to poverty in rural Kenya. Regions like Murang'a, Bondo and Meru are affected by this environmental issue.
There is the risk of seasonal flooding during the winter months, July to late August. In September 2012, thousands of people were displaced in parts of Kenya’s Rift Valley Province as floodwaters submerged houses and schools and destroyed crops. It was especially dangerous as the floods caused latrines to overflow, contaminating numerous water sources. The floods can also cause mudslides and two children were killed in September 2012 following a mudslide in the Baringo District, which also displaced 46 families
and challenges in Kenya
The major environmental challenges include:
- Environmental degradation;
- Deterioration of water quality and quantity;
- Pollution and waste management;
- Impacts of Climate change and Global Warming;
- Inadequate adoption of Bio-Technology
- Lack of an integrated environmental planning strategy towards attaining the sustainable development objective
- Unclear delineation of some roles for lead agencies in environmental matters
- Inadequate appreciation of the role of NEMA by the public and lead agencies
- Poor governance
- • Poverty level which leads to desperation and sacrifice of the
- environment as people seek livelihood
- • Widespread poverty exacerbated by the impact of HIV/AIDS
- • Erosion of cultural values in environmental conservation
- • Conflicts on natural resource use
- • Inadequate national accounting for natural resources
- • Cultural practices which are unfriendly to the environment
- • Inadequate data, research and research funding