No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as a manor of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
Those nine short lines speak volumes about humanity, yet at the same time they also speak of business because no business can exist in isolation; we rely on others to provide the products and services we demand and to buy the products and services we supply. But that is a very simplified perspective. Businesses are organisms, entirely dependent on an inter-connecting chain of societal structures. We thrive when the structures facilitate growth and we suffer when any part of the chain fails.
A major part of the chain which is currently under significant stress is the global environment. From species' habitats to the air we breathe, things have been changing for some time, and not for the better. Businesses clearly play a major role in protecting or destroying the natural world due to the processes employed to create products and provide services. Businesses have the potential to "save" the things that are being changed but it's not always clear how they can do it.
Leaving aside the issue of whether businesses want to minimise their environmental impact (let's assume they do), there are so many issues to get to grips with that sometimes it can be difficult to grasp just how to minimise the impact without risking the financial side of the business. For example, it might be pretty clear that putting lots of solar panels up on the roof would provide almost the entire electricity demand of your office but the costs of doing so might eat into cashflow to the point that your business is in danger.
But there are likely to be lots of things you can do, if only you knew how. And finding out the "hows" and the "whats" takes a lot of time, particularly if you are running a business with little capacity for providing time to people for finding this kind of thing out.
This is where networking can play a role. By sharing information, businesses can find out things that they would otherwise have to spend a lot of time or money to find out. Questions can be asked and solutions provided in hours, rather than days. This is why we have developed a new website, with the capacity for members and forums, so businesses who are members of the Low Carbon Alliance, which is itself a network can now use the online part of the network to share ideas and pose questions.
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