Environmental Sustainability – also a Corporate Responsibility - Olga Meļņičenko
Olga Meļņičenko, Environmental expert in Sustainability index and Consultant at SIA Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian Environment
Responsible attitude towards environment is formed and strengthen gradually. There are larger steps when, for example, large industrial or transport companies care for the environmental issues and change their conduct, and seemingly smaller steps when every one of us change our daily routines and habits. But these small steps add up to a great effect towards the environmental sustainability. As the environmental footprint of industrial companies are controlled on the national and EU level but the others have mainly their individual responsibility.
Therefore educating activities are of great essence in building public awareness regarding environmental issues and both national, as well as business organisations and NGOs operate as educators. The awareness has positively increased during the recent years – Eurobarometer public opinion data No. 81.3 indicate that in Latvia around 78% people are ready to pay slightly higher price for products and services manufactured in the method that is safe or at least less harmful to the environment.
Companies, including banks, play a special role in educating of public and promoting environmental sustainability. At first, bank is the contact point of many people that can be used to communicate about sustainability issues. Second, lending policy of the bank can promote environmentally responsible projects. Third, bank or company can demonstrate with its operations how to reduce energy and water consumption, how to improve waste management issues and choose environmentally friendlier means of transport. In this regard Baltic International Bank is a great example as Bank operates in all three of the above-mentioned directions. These are the examples that frequently encourage others to take the first step in changing the attitude and acting responsibly.