You’ve certainly heard the news by now, that more and more companies are finally making a conscious effort, in light of environmental concerns, to reduce waste and become eco-friendly. A prime example that most coffee lovers, or really any drink lover for that matter, will recognize is the reduction of plastic use from cups to straws alike.
So what kickstarted this initiative in the first place?
I’ve pulled a quote from Forbes (shared below) to best describe why the need for companies to step up in a big way has finally taken off:
“Plastic production is one of the world’s most pressing issues, having escalated to more than 320 million metric tons every year – and millions of those end up in oceans, rivers and landfill.”
Not to mention, you’ve probably seen the horrific pictures of coral reefs with lackluster color, sea animals wrapped in plastic, and people all over the world trecking through and sometimes even relying on extremely polluted waters as a water source. These are the exact reasons why a large company’s shift away from plastic use can make a monumental impact on the environment. This shift begins within the company’s business processes. Below are two Business Process Models that shed some light on what a business’ processes may look like while utilizing single-use plastic products vs eliminating these products.
Now that we’ve looked at how a business might process this internally, let’s look at the customer-facing changes. How have companies taken this eco-friendly initiative into consideration?
Companies, such as Dunkin’ Donuts, has announced that they will soon eliminate the use of styrofoam cups entirely. Although some changes in large companies have yet to be seen by the public, many companies are altering internal processes to better improve waste output. Upon researching further, I was able to find a list of the top 17 companies “going green” in the year 2019. Of course, Starbucks made the cut, but some of the other companies named were shocking, and quite frankly, exciting to see. McDonald’s immediately caught my eye, not just because they are the first on the list but because they’re one of the world’s largest fast-food chains. Having McDonald’s make such eco-friendly changes can have a monumental impact on the environment. Aside from eliminating or reducing plastic use, McDonald’s is beginning to use energy-efficient appliances that will cut energy wastage by a whopping 25% during business activities! Changes, like these, from large and powerful companies such as McDonald’s, Dell, and Google will hopefully encourage more and more people to make changes in their every day lives.
On top of the need to reduce the use and creation of single-use plastics (think your Starbucks morning coffee cup), recycling collection, sorting, and infrastructure have ample room for improvement. Only 9% of plastic products are actually recycled properly, a number that is far too low to help improve the environment. Businesses taking responsibility and rethinking their business processes is a huge step in the right direction, but there is certainly a lot of work to be done.
Are there any companies, not listed in the articles below, that you’ve begun to see eco-friendly changes to?
Weese, S. and Wagner, T. (2011). CBAP/CCBA Certified Business Analysis Study Guide, Chapter 5: Controlled Middle: Elicitation. Sybex.