The Stake of the Natural Environment

The Natural Environment is a Stakeholder of Business Actors: Based on what you see in the first 4:40 of the Pittsburgh video, how is the natural environment a stakeholder of business actors? Remember – stakeholders affect and are affected by a business actor’s activities. 

In the CMU video, the power of the natural environment as a business stakeholder is showcased on a city-wide scale. The impacts from years of reckless business activities that neglected the natural environment proved extremely consequential for the city. Air pollution and flooding became such major issues in the city that not only public officials, but also business leaders, formed a coalition to alleviate some of the strains the city was putting on the environment. This coalition succeeded and drastically revitalized Pittsburgh, illustrating the large effect the environment has as a stakeholder, particularly in the city. 

Challenges to the Idea of the Natural Environment as a Stakeholder : Based on the two sections in the Mother of Slow Food video, what are the limitations to the argument that the natural environment is a stakeholder of business actors? 

The primary theme of the excerpts was that sustainability is often a luxury. Catering to the natural environment when it goes against routine practices for both businesses and individuals often requires both time and money, which was evident in Alice Water’s lifestyle. In this way, sustainability is out of the question for many people and businesses. As money and time are almost always required to make changes that aid the environment, entities that do not possess those means may not even fathom the natural environment as a stakeholder. In the actuality of most businesses, having a surplus of time and money to look into changes that may not be directly profitable is rare, so sustainability projects may be difficult to entertain. The much more imperative relationships of many companies, especially smaller ones, involve the factors that most directly and evidently affect their bottom line, of which sustainability is not. 

Other Examples Like This?: As a future manager facing complex environments, where do you see this debate over the degree to which the natural environment is a stakeholder coming up in the future? 

As a future manager, I can foresee multiple scenarios in which the relevance of the natural environment to business operations is analyzed. The argument will most likely surface when funds for such developments are procurable, but could be spent in other areas. In a scenario like this, the business or the 

manager would need to prioritize the allocation of those funds (and time) based on the degree to which the possible recipients are stakeholders in the business. Looking into the future, more specific examples include switching to alternative power sources, such as solar, which are major costs with major environmental benefits, but little financial benefits short term. As a manager, I believe strongly that the natural environment is a stakeholder and should be invested in as soon as it is financially reasonable. Many small projects like reevaluating light usage and waste management can be cost effective solutions that require no argument. However, larger projects with upfront costs and long ROIs will definitely yield themselves to the debate.