Perspectives on Corporate Environmental Responsibility

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Perspectives on Corporate Environmental Responsibility

The Moscone Center, the largest convention and exhibition building in San Francisco.

The Moscone Center, the largest convention and exhibition building in San Francisco.

The Moscone Center, the largest convention and exhibition building in San Francisco.

The Moscone Center, the largest convention and exhibition building in San Francisco.

Christine Lee

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Flowers in the Yerba Buena center near the King Fountain.

With California as a leader in the efforts to help the environment, those in the Bay Area have become more conscious of the amount of resources they use each day.

Yet, awareness does not always create change and action. California has continued to maintain its stance on combating water pollution, being the first state to set the standard for reducing plastic with a plastic straw ban passed in 2018. Recently passed deals include a $30 million fund to make Palo Alto’s sewage plants climate-friendly. However, some citizens’ individual efforts are lacking.

The fact that our natural surroundings are at risk is common knowledge, and the number of movements focusing in on the environment is growing stronger as environmental organizations garner more economic and social support. Social media accounts focused on spreading ocean preservation messages have made a market for companies who maintain that their practices are non-harmful, or even beneficial, to the earth. Unfortunately, growing awareness does not always impact the wider audience. 

Francis Perez from Napa states that she knows the issue is “growing and very common.” However, she does not do anything in particular to reduce her carbon footprint. Many people in the city choose convenience over actively going after greener options. 

We have created the reliance on these options over the years but even a consumer’s efforts will not be enough to impact the greater problem. There is also a great responsibility of the corporations who operate in the state. According to Bloomberg in 2019, “environmentalists, however, are skeptical of what they sometimes call corporate ‘greenwashing,’ noting that staws account for 0.03 percent of the 8 million metric tons of plastic that enter the ocean each year.”

The straw ban is a very small step to becoming “waste-free” as San Francisco pledged to be by 2050. Furthermore, greener alternatives are often more expensive than their regular counterparts, causing some struggling households unable to make the switch even if they wanted to. Those who can afford to be greener should show that the demand for these options is rising, prompting companies to create more options.

Melissa Chen, 26, from New York City says that she reduces “on a local level…composting and recycling, not using too much water, not turning the lights on too much.” But she feels that any large scale change is in the hands of the corporations.

“They need to make those changes and I don’t have that power. We’ve been having discussions but no change is happening.” Corporations are the ones with the economic power to work with public policies to fix this issue. As consumers, we have the power to demand that they make those options available. Understanding the issue is a very important first step, but acting upon them is much more impactful. 

About the Writer
Photo of Christine Lee
Christine Lee, Reporter

Christine Lee is a rising senior at Hillsdale High School. Editor-in-Chief for The Shield yearbook, she is passionate about her work and strives to improve...

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