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Corporations and climate crisis

By Rider University Eco-Rep, Tara Towson


Originally Published: December 1, 2021

As college students, we hear acronyms constantly. We see them in ads, talk about them in classes, use them in social media, search for them in potential careers and even make up our own. While CSR seems like an acronym that has emerged only recently, Corporate Social Responsibility has actually been around since the 1800s, as it is related primarily to philanthropy.

It wasn’t until the 1970’s that CSR became an obligation for businesses to contribute to the needs of society. With that lengthy of a history, it can seem surprising that corporate greed continues to be an ongoing issue in our society, negatively contributing to the wellbeing of our people and increasing the impacts of climate change.

Some large corporations have gotten away with detrimental practices, and it is time consumers put an end to it. This is the theme of “The New Corporation; the Unfortunately Necessary Sequel,” the Office of Sustainability’s newest green film screening on Dec. 7 and 8. “The New Corporation” presents the pressing issues of large companies negatively altering our society while promoting businesses that positively impact people and the planet.

When you take the time to research the companies you purchase from, you will realize that most of them do not support environmental causes. In reality, corporate commerce wreaks havoc on the planet. Corporate companies produce mostly everything that we buy, use and throw away. According to the National Defense Resource Council website, “100 companies have been responsible for 71% of all industrial emissions since human-driven climate change was officially recognized.”

These 100 companies hold the fate of the climate crisis in their hands, yet choose profit over a clean and safe living environment. When these companies are held accountable for the exploitation of the earth and all that live on it, we can turn things around.

The first step toward holding these companies accountable is to research where you purchase your everyday goods. We have a responsibility to make the conscious decision to only purchase and support companies prioritizing the environment and doing everything in their power to lower their impact. If we as consumers make a conscious effort to support B Corp companies, we can change how the corporate world operates.

To become a certified B Corp business, they must meet “the highest standards of social and environmental impact” according to the company’s slogan. Businesses that are B Corp certified have gone through a rigorous evaluation process, and they have to meet a series of baseline requirements, including a commitment to human rights and ethical management styles. When all the B Corp certified companies come together, they form a global movement of people using businesses as a power for positive impact.

Jay Rios, a sophomore global supply chain major said, “many companies around the world run on greed and neglect. When it is time for me to go out into the workforce, I will pride myself in joining a company that supports environmental causes and goes against the unethical practices that companies nowadays indulge in.”

Our generation of rising business owners will be able to start with the knowledge that we are part of a society, coming together to reverse the impacts of climate change. This will be a group effort, and we may be able to save our earth if we pay attention to our impact on it.

Junior global supply chain major Jared Gore said, “It is so sad to see how some major corporations contribute to climate change. They need to be held accountable, and I as a consumer, and hopefully future employee of a corporation, will make sure I only work somewhere where I know they have the environment as priority.”

In a time where many of us feel hopeless, we have to remember we do have the power to make a change. To learn more about corporate greed, environmental accountability and how we can create change as eco-conscious consumers, attend this month’s Green Film Series screening of “The New Corporation: the Unfortunately Necessary Sequel” on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. in Sweigart Hall, Room 115 (Rue Auditorium) and Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Register at www.rider.edu/greenfilms to reserve your spot. Join the Office of Sustainability and Rider’s Eco-Reps for a brief discussion after the film.


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