RippedFrom the Headlines: Submission #3
Theworld is losing its Ecosystem Goods and Services (EGS) at a quickrate, and its effects are worst among the poorest of this world. Theintegration of the EGS in policy marks important avenues toparticipate in the reduction of poverty while enhancing the deliveryof EGC at all levels.Thesolutions to environmental changes being experienced the world overare subject to contemporary, aggressive thinking such as thedevelopment and implementation of the EGS framework. The naturalecosystem goods and services increasingly affect the manufacturingindustry through the changing realities shaped by operationsactivities. The regulation of ecosystem requirements of manufacturingcompanies that benefit societies is quite challenging. Using the EGSframework, it is easier to select new policy tools that promote EGSor adjust existing ones based on careful assessment of their impactson humans and the environment.
Keywords:EGS, Manufacturing, Policy, Environmental Impacts,
RippedFrom the Headlines: Submission #3
Theintegration of the Ecosystem Goods and Services (EGS) in policy marksimportant avenues to participate in the reduction of poverty whileenhancing the delivery of EGC at all levels. “Mainstreaming(integration) of EGS can become an important element of naturalresource and biodiversity policies,” Kok, et al. (2010). Now morethan ever, CEOs are taking it as their responsibility to protect theearth and its inhabitants by developing and implementing policiesthat enhance environmental sustainability.
Considerationof Environmental Impacts during Policy Formulation by ManufacturingCompanies
Thetitle of this study “Considerationof Environmental Impacts During Policy Formulation By ManufacturingCompanies” finds its basis from a recent article by Andrew Hoffman(January 27, 2017) in Futurism titled “Reality Check: Trump’sEnergy Policy vs. the Future of Fossil Fuels” Hoffman (2017).Hoffman notes that Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) head, under the Trump administration is a climate skeptic.Worse, his team is full of people with “stacked with fossil fuelinterests.” Interestingly, corporate America is taking a differentdirection. For instance, The Toyota Motor North America RegionalEnvironmental Sustainability Director, Kevin Butt, vowed that Totalwould reduce and eventually eliminate the emission of CO2from manufacturing, motor vehicles, input production and sources ofenergy during the first half of this century (Hoffman, 2017).
Effortslike those of Total Motor are not as hard to achieve as they mayseem. The solutions to environmental changes being experienced theworld over are subject to contemporary, aggressive thinking such asthe development and implementation of the EGS framework. While theimportance of international treaties in the reduction of greenhouseemission cannot be ignored, they remain inadequate. Eventually, theworld needs to go carbon neutral and then carbon negative (Hoffman,2017). This responsibility to make a shift ultimately falls first onbusinesses. Manufacturing companies are developing the nextcommercial and rental structure, processing food we eat, clothes,motor engines the energy system they use. With their unequaled levelsof sanity, business including manufacturing is the only source of themuch-needed change. If the business world is not forthcoming withany solutions, then even the most basic level will have no solution.
Importanceof EGS in Policy Development
Ecosystemsare the primary producers of the various goods and services consumedby humans. These include all the water and food, timber and much ofthe fiber used by manufacturers. Ecosystems are capable of moderatingthe impact of extreme weather and help decrease the rate of climatechange and its impacts. The purify water, break down wastes, regulatelife on the planet through natural cycles of nutrients,photosynthesis and soil formation.
Theworld is losing its EGS at a quick rate, and its effects are worstamong the poorest of this world. Evidently, the integrity of thenatural ecosystem, the quantity, and quality of goods and services isfaced with serious threats. Communities of the world need to investin substitute sources, or when no substitutes exist, in therestoration of EGS. Improving EGS is most challenging in regions withlow income. In such regions, resources are degraded and the fragile,while users have limited livelihood options that are practical. Thisusually instigates conflict as a result of the constraints in EGSavailability. The poorest population forming one-quarter of theentire human population are the most directly hit under dwindling EGS(Eurostat, 2016).
Eventhough policies on environment and biodiversity cover EGS, theirinfluence on the actual use of the ecosystem is not much.Consequently, this study aims at increasing understanding of thesignificance of mechanisms for international policies that go beyondenvironmental and diversity policies to deliver sustainability of EGSso as to benefit the well-being of humans at all levels. This study,therefore, explores the links between manufacturing company EGS andpolicy domains. Additionally, conditions and options to integrate EGSin international industrial policy that go beyond biodiversity andthe environment policies have been identified. Integration(mainstreaming) is considered a potentially important element ofecosystem and biodiversity conservation (Kok, et al., 2010).
EnvironmentalAgencies and Manufacturing Companies’ Dependence on EGS
Thenatural ecosystem goods and services increasingly affect themanufacturing industry through the changing realities shaped byoperations activities. This section focuses on environmental agencies(firms) like EPA, and manufacturing firms, such as Total Motors, andhow they respond to their EGS needs. Firstly, environmental agenciesmay benefit from the on-going development and adaptation ofinternational policies on environmental sustainability by morecountries. Environmental agencies can expand into new markets createdby this opportunity to develop and establish environmental standards.Industrialized nations are increasing their presence in theenvironment industry. Environmental agencies in the U.S are thereforefacing competition from Japanese and European firms in theenvironmental industry. The global market for the ecosystem goods andservices is quickly rising, and though most of the demand is local,international trade is still significant.
Theregulation of ecosystem requirements of manufacturing companies thatbenefit societies is quite challenging. Total Motor Manufacturing isa dealer in automobiles and a producer and distributor of fossilfuels in the form of petroleum and oil the world over. Thedependence of Total Motors manufacturing on EGS is evident in itsdaily activities. As a producer and dealer in fossil fuels, TotalMotors is fully dependent on EGS in its production and distributionof its products. Not only do manufacturing companies like TotalMotors require land to set up their operations, but their also needthe ecosystem to provide most of the raw products like oil, timber,coal, and others, that are converted to finished products forconsumption. Without a sustainable ecosystems ecosystem goods liketimber, and services such as nutrient circulation, manufacturingcompanies would have difficulties realizing their businessobjectives. Therefore, it is necessary that the industry regulatesthe consumption of EGS.
Theimportance of EGS is seen in the various regulatory policiesdeveloped over several decades. A recent article in the Huffingtonpost by Mosbergen (2017), asserts that Lagos, Nigeria, the mostpopulous in Africa could criminalize drinking water for the millionsin the city. The article is a clear indicator of the dependence onEGS and the current desperate situation for EGS sustainability.Furthermore, ChemicalWatch (2017)reports that seven EU member states recently Denmark to campaign forthe reinstatement of “an ‘automatic ban’ onthe use ofcarcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic (CMR) substances in cosmeticproducts.” The member states wanted the European Commission “toreconsider its ‘new interpretation of the ban’” Global BusinessBriefing (2017). Indeed, while manufacturers depend on EGS, theirexploitation of the environment must be regulated to control theeffects of the exploitation on both the people and the environment.Manufacturing activities have a significant impact on the ecosystem.
Effectsof Human Activities on EGS
Humanactivities on the environment have a great impact on the ecosystemand its sustainability. In January 2017, NASA recorded the thirdhighest temperature levels on the earth surface for the past 137years (NASA, 2017). The recent increase in natural catastrophes hasalso been linked to human activities that force the natural ecosystemto an imbalance. These human activities are driven by the need tosustain their livelihoods.
Accordingto United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), manufacturerscontribute up to 20% of the global CO2emissions, another close to 35% of global electricity consumption,and one-quarter of primary extractions (UNEP, n.d). As such,manufacturers are a vital part of the EGS exploitation. Themanufacturing process converts raw materials into finished goods forconsumption. Often, the raw materials are natural resources takenfrom the natural ecosystem. Therefore, the process deprives theenvironment of its goods. The impact of this is characterized by thereduction of non-renewable resources. Situations like the ones seenin Nigeria where policy makers almost criminalize water consumptionare a clear indicator of the outcome of unregulatedconsumption.
Theglobal population is increasing by the day while natural resourcesreduce at an alarming rate. This has been causing for conflictespecially among communities that depend on livestock for theirlivelihoods. The Same scenario could reach the manufacturing industryif appropriate measures are not taken in due time. Manufacturers andother business stakeholders, as well as policy makers, should,therefore, work together to mitigate the current situation ofenvironmental degradation aggressively. To effectively do this, anindividual must put aside their personal interests and agree oninternational policies that would change the current situation andenhance sustainability.
TheEGS Framework Dependency and Impacts
TheEcosystem Goods and Services Framework has four components:regulating services, cultural services, supporting services, andprovisional services (Costanza et al., 2016). There are three waysthat the topic is related to the EGS Framework. The first way isthrough the climate regulation sub-component of the framework. Thesecond way is through the water purification sub-component, and thethird way is through the primary production sub-component. Allpolicies aim to create means of production and sustain populations.
TheEGS framework has been previously adopted for various globalassessments including the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and theGlobal Environment Outlook (Kok, et al., 2010). The frameworkprovides a logical way of approaching communication about ecosystemmaintenance, an illustration of national values that are attributableto selected EGS, and the importance of EGS in the provision ofessential human needs. From a policy point of view, the relationshipbetween manufacturing industry objectives and EGS is of particularrelevance.
Figure1: framework to analyze the relationship between policy and EGSdelivery and its impact on human well-being (KoK, et al. 2010)
Theabove diagram shows the interaction between EGS issue andinternational policy measures. The EGS framework helps in theconnection of ecosystem functions and structures, important policiesand practices at different phases, and human well-being. Thefoundation for human well-being is provided for by ecosystem goodsand services and essential goals for development. Still, threats tothe integrity of the ecosystem and delivery of quality manufacturedgoods and services are not yet as clear. The increase in demand ofprocessed products including food, water, and energy in the futurecould lead to a compromise in the delivery of services and keyregulations.
The dynamics nature of the ecosystem results from complexsocio-ecological interactions at multiple levels. Therefore,manufacturing policies driven by the EGS Framework should focus moreon strengthening EGS in agriculture, forestry, and non-renewableenergy production. Policy statements while in consideration ofhuman-well-being should be consistent with objectives to mitigategreenhouse gas emissions and be supportive of the ecosystem-basedadaptation in the local region, as well as elements of potentialvitality to international policies on climate change.
Theabove connections have not been appreciated on a wide scale in policydevelopment in the manufacturing industry. The option of EGS in thedelivery of policies including ecosystem objective is relatively lowin cost and would lead to a very large reduction in harmfulemissions. The integration of EGS in the development of manufacturingpolicy for reduced emission and deforestation is guided by the UNFCCCprogram. The program provides a market-based model capable ofcreating alternative economic value in standing forest overdeforestation. However, institutional and procedural issues need tobe addressed through policy development for assurance of effectiveimplementation. However, the concern here is on the interest is onloopholes can be avoided and ensure sustainability is captured andnot simply at the expense of human well-being. The impact of theopportunity to incorporate EGS in climate and manufacturing policiesshould be approached with concern for the environment and humanwell-being (Kok, et al., 2010).
Theintegration of EGS in manufacturing policy should be guided by toolsthat positively enhance the environment’s ability to deliver andcontribute to EGS in ways that help sustain the well-being of humans.Broadly, the identification of appropriate concepts and tools couldassist in the integration of the ecosystem in decision-makingprocesses, and could more specifically benefit to improve thedevelopment of more sustainable and specific tools and policies. Inmanufacturing, tools and policies can be developed to cover thedifferent stages in the manufacturing cycle, whether production,processing or distributing.
Usingthe EGS framework, it is easier to select new tools for thedevelopment of policy that promote EGS or adjust existing ones on thebasis of careful assessment of their impacts on humans and theenvironment. This assessment is to help foresee the possible outcomesand avoid any surprises. This may occur in cases where indirectenvironmental implications are hidden in non-environmentalinitiatives.
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