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The Raging Amazon Forest Fires: Why Businesses Need to Step Up for Climate Change

Alex Indigo

No one is taking climate change seriously. Seriously. No one.

Take the Amazon rainforest fires, for example. The fires have been burning for months now, but has only come into the light in the past week after it has been doubling with more than 9,500 infernos.

The lungs of the earth are burning to ashes and the government is really not doing much about it.

But, why does the government do nothing about it?

The answer is simple. The government lacks the incentive to protect it.

The president, in the past, has, in turn, supported the clearing of Amazon to further the prospects of agriculture and mining in the region.

While recently the government has banned burning for 60 days, The National Space Research Institute (INPE) has published a data showing a continued outbreak of 3,859 –out of which 2,000 are within the Amazon.

Climate change is one of the biggest issues that the world is facing, and we are already facing serious consequences of it. Forget the media talking about a broken world in the future for the next generation; the world is already breaking.

The Alps are warming, ice caps are melting, cold cities are growing warmer, new diseases are emerging … yet not much is being done about it.

Leaders of any institution have great power. They have influence over their businesses, employees and sometimes even consumers. If climate change is taken seriously by these leaders, it can make a significant difference.

Here are some ways businesses can incentivise employees to be more aware of climate change and not make the same mistake as President Jair Bolsonaro.

Invest in an electrical mode of transport for employees or offer loans

If you’re a big company, investing in purchasing a fleet of electronic cars which can be used to pick up and drop off employees can be helpful. Or, alternatively, you could also offer special loans for employees to purchase electronic cars.

Electronic cars are nowadays readily available and have also recently entered some of the low GDP countries.

These cars are not only perfect for the environment compared to normal cars which increase the levels of carbon dioxide with their emissions. They are also cheaper to run and maintain.

Start catering plant-based food for employees

According to research by Harvard, greenhouse gas emissions from livestock is 50 per cent greater than transport. This is why cutting down on meat is one of the key solutions to protect the environment. It is also why investors are also looking to invest in companies that are working to develop meat alternatives.

Some companies may think that this is ridiculous, as a healthy, plant-based food tends to be more expensive. But it is definitely a myth and there are plenty of healthy and tasty plant-based options that are cheap and easy to make.

For example, a good old peanut butter sandwich with bananas can be filling and tasty at the same time.

There are hundreds of options from foodies and Instagrammers who can help build the perfect healthy catering option recipes for your employees. This way, you keep your employees healthy, and at the same time save the planet.

Phase out the use of plastics

India will be banning plastics completely as announced on October 2.

This sets a great example, not only for countries but also for businesses. Try to phase out the use of plastics as much as possible.

A lot of companies are using reusable shopping bags, a much more eco-friendly option.

Don’t just incentivise employees, incentivise customers too

Offer special discounts for customers who reuse their shopping bags.

I once had a friend who started collecting glass soda bottles from all his friends, in return for a good amount of money. He didn’t really know much about climate change, but it was definitely a good incentive.

In conclusion, these are only some ways businesses can make a difference for the benefit of the environment and themselves.

Sometimes people are not aware of the issues that surround them around climate change and for that matter, the only way to motivate is to incentivise, incentivise, incentivise.

This article was first published on e27, on September 4, 2019.

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