Share your thoughts
When it comes to fostering a clean, green society, should we focus on changing the minds and actions of individuals? Or changing those of companies? Why?
AASYP Digital Dialogues wants to hear your voice, so please share your opinions and experiences. Try to keep your response focused on one idea per comment. If you have multiple ideas, post additional responses. Be mindful of readers and how your words could be interpreted differently. Make sure to reread before posting and check for clarity.
We have members from across the ASEAN-Australia region. Read about different ideas, experiences, and be sure to like and follow posts that interest you. Dig deeper and make real connections by asking other members questions about their opinions and experiences. The goal here is to understand each other more and not get into a debate.
In our current political landscape, the structural power of companies arguably rivals government institutions. Multinational corporations, in particular, have an incredible scale of control. Their supply chains and consumer networks span over several continents. Consequently, the decisions and approaches that one MNC makes will have an effect over all the countries they operate in and invest with.
Changing the minds of individuals ensures that sustainability becomes more ingrained as a societal norm, therefore sustaining long-term change, but individuals are limited by choices made available by businesses. Promoting good household recycling practices is imperative to creating a more sustainable society by changing the individual’s habits. But if businesses continue using so much plastic and wasteful production processes, then the individual’s actions towards sustainability are disproportionate against the environmental costs being made by firms. As many fellow delegates have pointed out, companies are massive contributors of carbon emissions. We should support both individuals and companies to be more sustainable. Getting more individuals to boycott firms, protest against environmentally harmful ventures, and maintain strong activism channels is key to promoting sustainability. But ultimately these actions are to change the minds of companies, The power of companies – through their reputations, investments, and even elite political connections – have a deep, deep influence on creating more sustainable nations.
Companies play a role in meeting the needs of people, hence their mindset is important if they launch the products that are environmentally friendly. However, I believe people as consumers can use their voices in the formation of green technology, boosting the process of environmentally friendly products of those companies, they can choose to boycott the firms that harm the environment and make them change the way they do businesses.
Companies play a MUCH heavier role on pollution than consumers so all the ads and slogans targeting individual behaviors result to little to no lasting impact. This does not mean, however, that the latter must be stopped. Instead, a cause-oriented drive to gauge cooperation from individuals should also wage an infinitely greater demand for companies who are likely overlooked by law enforcers. The polluter pays. The duality of structure and agency should be addressed equitably to bring in holistic social change; plus, engaging with consumers to shift their preference against unsustainable commodities and companies pave way for major pressures on the demand side of production.
Focusing on changing the actions of individuals first is better because the companies actions are driven by their consumers. They always look for the opportunities in the market, what people like and don’t like and try to fulfill the society's needs. If people are persuaded to become more aware of sustainability and environment, they will tend to buy products from eco-friendly companies. If some companies are proven to harm the environment, they will be banned by many of their customers. So in the end, it will drive change to the companies itself.
I believe that both the actions of the individuals and companies have a strong impact on the environment. However, the actions of companies can result in strong "multiplier effect" which will be harmful to the larger population.
While both players are needed to ensure sustainability, the majority of the pollutions and environmental damage are caused by the top companies. As such, changing companies' minds, practices, and outlooks are much needed, especially in the short run. For example, only 20 firms are behind a third of all carbon emissions. For more information, you may want o read this article published in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/09/revealed-20-firms-third-carbon-emissions
Due to their sheer size and capacity, the majority of emissions produced and adverse environmental practices performed stem from corporations. They negatively impact the environment through energy usage and other operations on a much larger scale than individuals or households. Any positive change from individuals makes a difference, however, if the ‘minds’ of companies are changed, much larger positive environmental change would transpire.
Both plays a crucial role in fostering a clean and green society. But companies made of groups of people thus I personally think it is important to change the minds of people. It is through this cycle we can eventually make a change and foster more sustainable society.