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Why We Manage for the Environment

Nicole Radziwill

As the 2020s begin, how will you go beyond compliance to demonstrate the spirit of EHSQ? The planet is depending on you.

As we enter the 2020s, the evidence for climate change is expanding, the world as we know it is on the brink of even more change. As forest fires raze communities and destroy wildlife habitats in the U.S., Brazil, and Australia, longer-term economic impacts are beginning to emerge. Insurers, for example, are considering how (and if) to insure homes and businesses in low-lying places like Key West, Florida. City planners are choosing not to invest in raising the roadways there, which will cut off access to many properties, leaving them economically underwater as well.

In early 2019, the World Economic Forum explained the current scenario like this:

“Since the advent of the Industrial Revolution, increasing amounts of polluting gases have been pumped into the atmosphere, triggering an unprecedented rate of warming. According to the IPCC, human activity has caused around 1°C of global warming (above pre-industrial levels). The likely range is between 0.8°C and 1.2°C. Between 2030 and 2052, global warming is likely to hit a 1.5°C increase.

That increase of 1.5°C could put between 20% and 30% of animal species on the fast track to extinction, [and increase] the risk of climate-driven drought leading to mass migration events similar to those seen thousands of years ago. The Climate & Migration Coalition has warned that countries caught up in armed conflict or civil war are particularly vulnerable to famine in the event of drought [as well as] serious food shortages.”

They also note, though, that this isn’t the first time climate change has interrupted communities and economies. Overpopulation and drought contributed to the end of the Mayan civilization 4,000 years ago, and the bounty of Mesopotamia was punctuated by a 300-year drought even earlier. A sharp drop in temperatures in Greenland made it difficult for the Vikings to maintain settlements there.

Not all of these outcomes are directly related to human behavior. Even so, figuring out how to adjust behavior to make the world a better place should be part of every organization’s plans. We dedicate time, effort, and commitment to Environment, Health, Safety and Quality (EHSQ) practice so that we can continue to produce goods and services that satisfy our customers -- while also protecting our employees, their communities, and the planet.

As we move into the new year, ask yourself -- is your company is doing all it can to protect the planet? Are you personally doing all you can? Take steps in 2020 to go beyond compliance and protect the environment not because you’re required, but because you care.

Additional Resources:

Fleming, S. (2019, March 19). Climate change helped destroy these four ancient civilisations. World Economic Forum Blog. Available from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/03/our-turn-next-a-brief-history-of-civilizations-that-fell-because-of-climate-change

About the Author: Nicole Radziwill is the Vice President, Global Practice Leader, Quality & Supply Chain at Intelex Technologies. Before Intelex, she was an Associate Professor of Data Science and Production Systems, Assistant Director (VP) End-to-End Operations at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), and manager and consultant for several other organizations since the late 1990's bringing quality management to technologically-oriented operations. She is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality (ASQ) with a Ph.D. in Quality Systems from Indiana State University. Nicole serves as Editor of Software Quality Professional (SQP) journal and is a former Chair of the ASQ Software Division. She is an ASQ Certified Manager of Quality and Organizational Excellence (CMQ/OE) and Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB). 

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January 02, 2020 @ 09:27 AM EST Manufacturing Environment, Health & Safety, Quality

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