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Environmental policy and technology

Nature is our responsibility

Environmental policy and technology

1- Transferring a clean and healthy environment sensitive to climate change to future generations
 
 
To address the challenges in health, environment and climate change, governments, society and individuals will all need to continue to rethink the way we live, work, produce, consume and govern.
 
This transformation requires focusing action on upstream determinants of health, environment and determinants of climate change in an integrated and mainstreamed approach across all sectors, enabled and supported by adequate governance mechanisms and high-level political will. The health sector needs to play a new role to drive this transformation, using a sustainable and equitable approach
 
2- Efficient use of energy and natural resources
 
 
Energy efficiency is one of the most powerful weapons for combating global climate change, boosting the economy, and ensuring that the air is safe to breathe.
 
Energy efficiency is America’s largest energy resource, contributing more to the nation’s energy needs over the last 40 years than oil, coal, natural gas, or nuclear power. It accounts for more than 2.2 million U.S. jobs—at least 10 times more than oil and gas drilling or coal mining. NRDC helped pioneer the first appliance standards and the first efficiency programs for utilities. Today we work to increase efficiency everywhere, from community revitalization to state and national climate policy to China’s and India’s economic growth strategies.
 
3- Reducing negative environmental impacts in all processes from design to end of the life cycle
 
Driven by public awareness and international regulations and standards, sustainability and environmental impacts have become increasingly important distinguishing factors between competing products and services. Circular economy aims to increase economic growth by using natural resources and ecosystems in a more effective way with the aim of maintaining products, components and materials at their highest utility and value at all times. More effective use of materials enables the creation of more value both by cost savings and by developing new markets or by developing existing ones. Reduced acquisition of resources is a driver for innovation for sustainable use of materials, components and products as well as new business models. This chapter introduces methods and tools to assess and reduce environmental impacts, and improve resource efficiency and sustainability management. Life cycle thinking forms one of the basic principles of sustainable development, and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the leading method for assessing the potential environmental impacts of a product, process or service throughout its life cycle (ISO 14040-44). Other methods based on life cycle thinking are also introduced. LCA focusing on the contribution of a product or service to global warming uses methods for Carbon Footprint measurement and facilitates the tracking of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (ISO 14067). Water footprint is a tool that assesses the magnitude of potential water-specific environmental impacts of water use associated with a product, process or organisation. It aims at describing the impact of water utilization on humans and ecosystems due to changes in water quality and quantity (ISO 14046 Environmental management—Water footprint—Principles, requirements and guidelines 2014). The concept of handprint has recently been introduced to measure and communicate the positive changes of actions and the beneficial impacts created within the life cycle of products, services, processes, companies, organizations or individuals. A handprint of a product can be created either by preventing or avoiding negative impacts (footprints), or by creating positive benefits. When adopting the circular economy way of thinking, companies need these tools and methods to ensure resource efficiency, cost cuts and improvements in their environmental performance which provide them with more earning opportunities. Fundamental changes throughout the value chain, from product design and production processes to new business models and consumption patterns, support this trend.
 
4- Prevention of pollution at the source
 
 
Pollution prevention is not just the responsibility of businesses and government agencies. Citizens can help solve environmental problems by reducing pollution at the source, before it is created.
 
We can all apply pollution prevention in our daily lives. Whether in the home and garden, at the supermarket or on the road, we can make pollution prevention choices every day in order to protect the environment, save money and conserve natural resources.
 
5- Prioritizing climate change and sustainability in all activities.
 
Arctic regions are experiencing the most rapid climate change globally and adaptation has been identified as a priority across scales. Anticipatory planning to adapt to the impacts of climate change usually follows a number of steps: assess current and future vulnerability, identify potential adaptations, prioritize options, implement prioritized options, and monitor and evaluate implementation. While most of these steps are well documented, there has been limited examination of the process of adaptation prioritization in Arctic communities. In this paper, we build upon existing tools and propose a framework for prioritizing adaptation options and guiding decision-making for implementation in Arctic regions. Using four adaptation performance criteria (timescale, equity, sustainability and total costs) to evaluate options through a multi-criteria decision analysis coupled with a network centric approach, our Adaptation Prioritization Framework promotes a participatory approach for adaptation prioritization and planning. We illustrate application of the framework using a hypothetical example from the territory of Nunavut in the Canadian Arctic.
 
6- To raise environmental awareness of our employees and society
 
Engaging Employees in Going Green
 
Improving employee engagement in greening your business can lead to a more motivated, productive, and dynamic workforce – one that understands the importance and value of good business ethics and corporate responsibility.
 
This guide presents ten proven ways to engage employees in your company’s environmental and social goals. It is based on 30 years of academic and industry research and is designed for HR managers, trainers, and employees responsible for health, safety, and the environment.
 
Why Go Green?
 
Companies have at least four reasons to improve their impacts on the environment and the community:
 
1. Cut costs. Replacing lighting fixtures alone can reduce a company’s energy use by 25 to 30 per cent.
 
2. Increase revenues. Customers will pay up to 10 per cent more for products that are green (e.g. made from recycled materials) or ethical (e.g. fair trade).
 
3. Find and keep great employees. Employees look for social responsibility and environmental commitment when selecting employers. Because finding qualified workers is a top priority for Canadian small business owners, being good to people and the planet is no longer just “nice to do.” For further reading, view "Three Reasons Job Seekers Prefer Sustainable Companies."
 
4. It’s Good Business. Governments, suppliers, customers and employees are talking about the role companies play in the environment and society. Smart business leaders want to be part of that conversation.