Why Earth Day is Good Business

Much has changed since the original Earth Day celebration began in 1970.  Remember, when Earth Day was established it was the advent of the environmental movement. However, the concept of CSR did not yet exist, so  possibly the most significant change has been the business community’s involvement in, and support for, not only Earth Day, but, for making sustainability a central focus of investors, consumers and other stakeholders. The private sector’s participation is perhaps one of the main reasons Earth Day has expanded from a demonstration of 20 million people in the 1970’s, including thousands of colleges and universities protesting against the deterioration of the environment, into what has now become the largest annual secular event it is today.

Much as the first Earth Day was rooted in the public consciousness about air and water pollution, now thousands of companies, from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations, present their sustainability initiatives and environmental activities. However whilst the majority of corporate Earth Day initiatives align with each company’s CRS (Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability) objectives, as most businesses now recognise, it’s not sufficient to just publish CRS reports and to give back to communities via environmental and philanthropic programs. Constructive CRS is about companies integrating sustainable, eco-conscious and socially responsible business practices with their core products and services.

And as those most forward-thinking corporations understand, CRS isn’t just socially good, it’s financially and reputationally beneficial too. Today, sustainability and CRS are part of every successful business strategy.

Multinationals like Unilever, P&G, MARS and Coke, have taken the lead and are realizing the huge advantages of implementing CSR programs.  By managing resources through sustainable supply chain management, reducing waste streams, land conservation, and investment in communities, these companies are seeing decreased costs and increased profits. (In addition, companies that integrate climate-change management into their strategic planning see an 18% higher return on equity than those that don’t, according to one study by CDP, a non-profit that helps companies with environmental disclosure).

Given the wider discussion around The United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the impact of climate change, food security, energy demand, wildlife conservation, ocean equity and water scarcity, organisations that embrace the importance of CRS are part of a global shift where every company is socially responsible.

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