Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Global Warming: Challenges For The Corporate World

As a thumb rule, a company's image is generally dependent upon how much profit it makes. While buying stocks or just for maintaining brand loyalty, the public views the company from this angle alone. However, traditional yardstick of profit to rate companies may soon become outdated. After its six years of painstaking research by 2000 experts by The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the three successive reports have bluntly put the steps needed to be taken urgently if the climatic catastrophes are going to be kept in abeyance if not averted altogether. Progressive corporate houses that are conscious of their social responsibility are already trying to do their part and watch their carbon footprints. Such concerted actions are the need of the hour to mitigate the serious problems likely to strike mankind.
Modern offices are swanky and spacious illuminated brightly by incandescent lamps. Bosses occupy office rooms whose sizes seem to match their egos than anything else. If the offices are designed to allow more natural light and use energy-efficient lighting, there would be lot of saving of power which in turn would bring down greenhouse gases. Such buildings should provide solar panels to meet its own power requirements even if partly. Companies having residential colonies can go for central air conditioning which can supply air to the houses. A small community town is reportedly getting ready in Florida having such a facility. Some corporate bigwigs, however, may develop cold feet to such measures which in a way try to clip their wings.
Contrary to popular belief, automobiles cause more pollution than factories. Instead of travelling by individual cars, if the public transport is used by employees of companies, then there would be significant reduction in greenhouse gases. The corporate tradition to provide cars of sizes to executives commensurate with their hierarchical positions is unjust in a world fighting global warming as bigger cars are fuel-guzzlers. The cavalcade of cars often seen whenever the top bosses travel may be good for ego trips but is outrageous from the point of becoming carbon neutral.
Executives of progressive companies frequently go places. They fly in and out to save time. Unfortunately, air transport causes many fold greenhouse gas emissions than train travel. Although train journey is slow, it should become the unenviable choice for the sake of fighting global warming. Some airlines offer free tickets for frequent fliers for their business growth. There are many instances when executives of large corporate houses get more interested in availing the free tickets than doing justice to the purpose for which the flying is undertaken. Such schemes may be very attractive to individuals but they leave dubious carbon footprints.
As the awareness grows about causes for greenhouse emissions and measures for its control, everyone is going to watch with alacrity how carbon offsetting is being made by individuals as well as corporate houses. Carbon footprints may soon be the new bottom-line for companies.

Monday, May 07, 2007

To Fight Global Warming Or Not To ...

Horror scenarios of global warming are no longer being brushed aside as mere flights of imagination of some over-zealous scientists. After the publication of two successive reports submitted by UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climatic Change (IPCC), people in general all over the world have belatedly become aware of the fast approaching Doom's day. It has now dawned upon everybody that this man-made crisis can only be somewhat mitigated by man-made solutions. The present war-cry is to cut down greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible so that even if action is taken now, the impact would be felt after decades.
As a simple measure, the use of energy-efficient fluorescent lamps (CFLs) instead of the conventional incandescent lamps can reduce carbon dioxide emissions drastically. According to the UN draft report, this change alone will reduce a billion metric tonnes of carbon gas emissions and will save $122 billion by the year 2020. The benefits are simply awe-inspiring and nations are getting ready to jump into the bandwagon.
Unfortunately, every change is accompanied by some pain or the other. Even before the awareness about the above energy-saving measures spreads and among the masses, the conventionalists are taxing their brains on how to stall such changes. Their contention is that use of energy-efficient lamps may enhance mercury contamination unless their manufacturing and disposal are handled with utmost care as these lamps contain highly toxic mercury in them. While no one should overlook the need of caution to be exercised, there is a risk of vested interest spreading misinformation especially among poor and illiterate masses in developing countries to pour cold water on such useful products.
Among the two evils of global warming and mercury contamination, while global warming is threatening to wipe out life from the planet Earth, mercury hazards which can become life-threatening sporadically must be minimised by adopting safe handling and disposal methods. It appears as though man is caught between the devil and the deep sea. But my survival instincts prompt me to take on global warming first and after taming the demon go after mercury hazards.