The Role of Big Business in Climate Change Issues


One of the biggest conversations today with regard to who bears the brunt for climate issues. It’s a problem that’s famously controversial, largely because it’s easier to point fingers than it is to take responsibility for your role. On top of this, even though modern business philosophy preaches ideas like the triple bottom line (prioritizing people and the environment alongside the company’s profit), more traditional business ideas are singularly focused on the profit of the company. Because of this, many companies see environmental considerations as a liability rather than a responsibility that they must address.

Last week, Time published a piece entitled Planet Earth’s Future Now Rests in the Hands of Big Business. Upon analyzing the role of big business when it comes to climate change alongside United States legislation from the 1980s until now, the article concluded that business, especially big business, has the greatest ability to effect the fast change needed in order to reach climate goals before it’s too late.

But it’s a little more complicated than that. Big businesses will also require the guidance of governments and nonprofits as well as the voice of individuals in order to facilitate an equitable transition toward a greener world.

Let’s take a look at the role big business has when it comes to climate change and what your company can do to take responsibility for your role.

, The Role of Big Business in Climate Change Issues

Although the idea of Extended Producer Responsibility (a legislative approach which places primary responsibility of climate change goals in the hands of the producers) is not new, it hasn’t always seen success. According to the Time article, legislative attempts have largely failed. This is due to a number of factors, including resistance from big businesses, especially those in the energy sector, to block or limit this type of legislation.

However, in spite of the legislative failure, “investors and corporate executives have become more aware of the threat climate change poses to their business and open to working to address its causes.” Essentially, it’s the financial repercussions that climate change will inevitably bring about rather than the financial repercussions of legislation that offers the true incentive for companies to change.

But, this brings about another question: can the private sector lead the way to climate reform without the help of the government? The article says no. “They need a credible system to set the rules of the road and ensure that those pledges can be scrutinized,” says author Justin Worland. In other words, the private sector and government entities must work together in order to reach meaningful environmental goals.

Although the private sector has great power to enact change, historically, it typically doesn’t change fast enough, especially without incentives from the government. Furthermore, the private sector doesn’t have the resources to take into consideration things like the social impact of their actions. Without government guidance, the changes simply won’t come fast enough, and important factors may be ignored. 

But, the government can’t do it alone, either. They need meaningful input from companies in order to build a system that big business is likely to follow. It’s also often the private sector that leads innovation and new technologies, which are needed in order to make a smooth transition to a more sustainable world. Governments must harness this power by offering incentives in this direction and encouraging companies to grow in a way that helps them to grow while improving global sustainability.

The benefits of doing business the green way

green business

Businesses are willing to go green as long as they can see a benefit from it. This can be seen in U.S. companies’ response to the Paris Agreement. When President Trump removed the United States from the Paris Agreement, 20 Fortune 500 companies pledged to remain true to the deal in spite of the fact that they were no longer required to do so. This number only grew over the years with 2,300 companies making the same pledge by the time Trump left office.

This goes to show that the private sector does have a desire to adhere to climate goals even if they aren’t required to do so by legislation. However, profits remain a major influence of business decisions. Businesses need to know that they can still thrive while making sustainable choices. 

The science shows that they can. Studies show that moving toward sustainable practices helps improve customer loyalty with over 60% of consumers wanting the brands they support to align with their ideals, sustainability being one of the top customer concerns. Furthermore, 68% of impact investors (investors who invest in projects and businesses that make a positive difference in the world) said that their investments met their expectations, and 20% said that their expectations were exceeded. In studies surrounding circular economies, it’s predicted that trillions of dollars may be made with significant increases in productivity and job creation. 

Because there’s a profit to be made from doing green business, businesses are motivated to move in this direction on their own. However, guidance from an outside entity is still needed to ensure that their sustainable choices promise longevity and social responsibility.

Take the socially and environmentally responsible first step with TONTOTON

TONTOTON - The Story of Plastic Credit Impact

If your company wants to follow the trend of many big businesses, partnering with TONTOTON is a good first step. When you partner with TONTOTON, you can reduce plastic pollution by collecting non-recyclable plastic alongside recycled plastic used in their products. Leave nothing and no one behind. It’s a way for companies to empower impact and to choose responsibility with a third-party certification.

The plastic credits fund projects that support vulnerable communities and help clean up plastic waste in areas where mismanaged plastic waste is in abundance. We employ those in the communities in which we work offering competitive wages, training, personal protective equipment, and access to healthcare. Once that plastic waste is collected, we send it to cement factories to be converted into energy and raw materials.

We offer a short term solution to help minimize your company’s plastic footprint in a way that’s beneficial to both the planet and the vulnerable communities in which we work. This aligns with the premise of the above article; with the help of motivated corporate partners, we’re able to produce a solution that’s effective. However, we can’t stop here. We always encourage our corporate partners to make additional changes beyond the purchase of plastic credits, and here at TONTOTON, we’re always researching new and better ways to address the plastic waste issue.

Take the same path as big business by taking responsibility for your environmental footprint. Partnering with TONTOTON allows you to take that first step today.