Do organizations have responsibility for the air pollution in London?

  • 26 Oct 2017

Do organizations have responsibility for the air pollution in London?

Environmental sustainability is one of the challenges of the future. Climate change, pollution, and extreme weather conditions are seen as major threats to both individuals and organizations in the coming years.  

From localised disruptions such as power outages and floods, to wide spread disruptions such as economic damage and social instability, these threats have the power to permanently damage organizations and society.

From a business continuity perspective, the question is: how are organizations protecting themselves from the effects of environmental change in the long-term?

According to the BCI Planning for Climate Change report, many organizations use horizon scanning, planning, and collaboration to prepare for disasters. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are implementing changes to actively protect themselves in the long-term. Public authorities, on the other hand, have started to implement measures to try tackling environment related threats. From recycling rules to pollution reduction measure, the government is addressing the issue.

In the past week, the T-Charge introduced by Mr Khan, mayor of London has sparked fierce debate. The T-Charge is an additional £10 per day charge that aims to reduce air pollution caused by older vehicles. Many major cities such as Paris and Lyon have already implemented measures to tackle high pollution vehicles, however London has been criticised for taking such a big leap.

This change will not only significantly increase daily expenditure for individuals, but runs the risk of increasing employer costs should they choose to support staff, and even reducing footfall through the city. Sue Terpilowski of the Federation of Small Businesses has noted the potential damage which could be caused to small businesses who are already dealing with increased rent and employment costs. Jenny Bates of Friends of the Earth notes that whilst this is a small step in the right direction towards clean air, a programme is needed to assist those who are required to upgrade their vehicles.

In situations like this, should organizations support the change? The potential impacts on organizations versus the need for improved environmental sustainability must be considered, however, could your organization support the change or should this fall to local government?

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