Big businesses are now forced to pay for the harm they cause to the environment, all thanks to political pressure.
The recent UN study that has been undertaken will report impact of the big companies of in the world on the environment. It is a campaign for finding out how much damage has been caused so far, what its worth is and finally, how this can be put to an end.
One other report will be published later this year and the study has been undertaken by Pavan Sukhdev, who is not just the special adviser of the United Nation but also an economist. This report is considered to be one other important step towards this goal.
He also warned that the harm to the environment shall cause a decrease of 7% of the global economy by the middle of the century if things continue to exist this way.
The companies are trying hard to monitor, reduce and report their impact before the legislation forces them to amidst the growing trend for more regulations on operations, taxes and fines, investor groups such as the US-based Ceres, which represents more than 80 funds managing more than $8tn (£5tn) of assets. The reports are quite hard to compare and a rough sketch.
According to the report commissioned by the UN, 3000 of the world’s biggest companies can provide best guide for managers, investors and customers for finding out businesses that would bear a great burden for the next generation.
What’s interesting is the illustration of a gulf in scale between the sectors having the smallest and largest impacts, the measurement was done in dollars.
The most damaging item were the utilities with about $400bn total cost, dominated by gases like CO2 and other greenhouse gases responsible for global warming, acid rain and smog precursors, metal pollution in water and nuclear waste.
The sectors with the lowest impact are healthcare, technology, financial services and telecommunications which damages the environment by an estimated $25bn or less each.
Next were the sectors of “basic materials” like mining, forestry and chemical companies which has costs of over $300bn and cars, food, drink and toys having costs of under $300bn. The two are however quite distinct from one another.
Emissions of greenhouse gas, coal, pollution of freshwater use and pollution caused by acid rain and smog were arising from mining and similar business. The culprit behind the pollution of freshwater were the food and drink companies, and then greenhouse gases, and pollution from agricultural chemicals
The impacts of industrial companies (constructions, aerospace, and electronics sector) and the oil and gas sector were $200bn and about $175bn respectively. The costs of these two sectors were dominated by acid rain and smog pollution, freshwater use, greenhouse gases.
About $75bn damage was cause by the consumer services, which includes the media, and this was again, mostly due to green house gases, water and local air pollution.