The year 2020 has been a year of accelerated changes. The trend towards home working went suddenly into fifth gear as COVID-19 spread through the global population.
During this difficult time, we were presented with some useful technology that might not, under normal circumstances, have been accepted into common use for a few more years.
So, what’s stopping us from steaming ahead with the sustainable development agenda?
Nothing, really. Let’s do it!
Sustainable development is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. (United Nations’ 1987 Brundtland Report)
The Brundtland Report – a paper entitled Our Common Future: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development – presents a case for the merging together of economics and environment in all decision making. The movement looks beyond the parameters of organisation, community, sector, or nation. Sustainable development is a philosophy built on global foundations and supported by the three universal pillars of: People, Environment, Profit.
A sustainability policy will present opportunities to all members of society, regardless of ethnicity, gender, or age. And it will nurture the wellbeing of the workforce.
A sustainability policy will include strategies for reducing the emission of greenhouse gases in manufacturing and shipping processes. And it will commit to recycling and reusing materials.
A sustainability policy will strive for financial stability and growth. A financially healthy company is a customer and supplier to other businesses, and it provides employment.
Over recent years, the wellbeing of staff has risen in the hierarchical ranks of priority. The latest Health and Wellbeing at Work survey report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) reveals that organisations running a wellbeing programme have seen a drop in sickness absence, increase in staff retention, and improvement in employee morale and engagement. A culture of general wellbeing is having a huge impact on corporate productivity.
Through in-house gyms and sports clubs, health insurance, counselling sessions, social events, and biophilic offices, employers are becoming increasingly invested in the general wellbeing of staff.
When it comes to health and wellbeing, there’s no single factor more important than hydration. Access to purified boiling, chilled, and sparkling water – on tap or bottled – can make a big difference to an individual’s mood, cognitive ability, and general health.
Sustainability is very much about reducing waste and preserving natural resources. It’s also about controlling the amount of greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere. Global warming is a problem with far-reaching consequences.
Without greenhouse gases, however, we wouldn’t be here.
Naturally occurring gaseous compounds, such as H2O (water), CO2 (carbon dioxide), CH4 (methane), and N2O (nitrous oxide), absorb heat from the sun as it’s reflected off the surface of the Earth. That thermal energy in the atmosphere keeps our planet warm and able to sustain life. For every million molecules of gas in our atmosphere (air), between 200 and 280 are – or rather, were, until a century ago – greenhouse gases.
The balance that lasted hundreds of thousands of years has been tipped as a result of industry.
The concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, a natural product of respiration, has increased by more than 40% since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution (second half of the 18th century). One reason for this is the burning of fossil fuel for energy production. Another contributing factor is deforestation. Carbon dioxide is absorbed by plants for photosynthesis, but with the destruction of large areas of forest, unused carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere.
Methane is a natural product of ruminant digestion. But the concentration of methane in the atmosphere has increased as a result of agriculture and the decomposition of landfill waste. Nitrous oxide, which is almost 300 times the GWP (global warming potential) of carbon dioxide, is produced by the burning of biomass and the combustion of fossil fuel.
Water vapour is also a greenhouse gas – one that has feedback effect.
A warmer atmosphere produces more water vapour, which absorbs more heat. The H2O gas rises and cools, condensing into liquid water droplets (aerosol). This liquid water forms clouds, which reflect around 30% of the sun’s radiation, preventing the Earth from becoming overheated.
So, as a result of global warming, clouds are formed, and the clouds help to cool the Earth. This is one way in which water has negative global warming feedback.
Ice is white and highly reflective, unlike the dark oceans. Ice will reflect a lot of sunlight, whereas a dark body of water will absorb the light. As the world gets warmer, ice melts, adding to the area of dark, light-absorbing water and reducing the white, reflective area.
Water changes state from solid to liquid as a result of rising temperatures, and the change perpetuates the warming process. This is an example of how water can have positive global warming feedback.
A sustainable business will incorporate principles of sustainability into all decisions.
To learn more about Aqua Libra Co’s cost-effective, environmentally friendly water-dispenser units, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.