Continuous Application of Preventive Environmental Strategies as a Way to Introduce Social Responsibility in Companies
The social sustainability challenge is still receiving relatively little attention but in future the social aspects will become a more important as a result of the growing expectations and demands addressed to business enterprises by employees and external stakeholders. Profit- oriented business companies run primarily for economic purposes, therefore environmental and social issues in most cases are confronted with the goals of making profit or at least minimising operating costs. As usual environmental and social aspects from management and organizational point of view are dealt separately. The aim of the research to investigate the integration challenge of ecological and social dimensions in the context of economic activity by implementation of different preventive environmental strategies and programs in the companies. The research method is based on development and implementation of special training and preventive innovations generation methodology for company‘s management and employees. There are many preventive environmental strategies, for instance, pollution prevention, waste minimization, cleaner production, etc. For a particular investigation, the resource efficient and cleaner production (RECP) strategy which applies to industrial processes, products and services was mainly introduced. This is because RECP has a potential to achieve production efficiency through optimization of productive use of natural resources to minimize the adverse impacts on environment and to reduce risks to employees and communities. Sustainable development strategy requires behavioural change by individuals as well. Therefore, the employees engagement is crucial. At the same time, resource efficient and cleaner production concept besides the potential mentioned above provides the possibilities to support their personal development. The methodology for preventive environmental innovations generation and implementation was introduced in more than 150 industrial companies and economic, environmental and social benefits were identified and assessed. Companies, which implemented a successful preventive environmental programs benefitted by significantly lowering operating costs, enhancing the safety of their employees, improving product quality and productivity, reducing environmental liability, improving public image, and chances for broader cooperation. Besides that, companies managed to implement employees‘engagement strategy by (1) communicating the professional impact that employees contribution had on the company, (2) enabling cross-functional communication and idea exchange. From another point of view, these programs helped financiers secure better clients and make more profitable investments and assists government agencies in their pursuit of a safer and healthier environment.
KeywordsSocial responsibility Business company Preventive environmental strategies Resource efficient and cleaner production Sustainable development
This research was funded by a grant (No. S-MIP-17-122) from the Research Council of Lithuania.
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