Business Politics

Politics and Environmental Regulations

One of the earliest known initiatives of the political community in implementing decrees that would alter the businesses (and consequently the work environment) was the National Environmental Policy Act. It was a United States environmental law that was approved by United States President Richard Nixon on January 1, 1970. The aim of the law was enact a United States national policy advocating for the betterment of the ecology. Its most profound effect however was to enact the requirement for EISs — environmental impact statements — for important and massive actions by the U.S. federal government.

This act, which was one of the progenitors of the green movement came into existence after widespread protests sprung up against the federal government’s destruction of the natural environment while constructing interstate highways during the ‘50s and the ‘60s. The law has been imposed on any project, state, federal, or local that requires federal funding.

The law has two major sections:

  • Provisions that guarantee that entities contemplate the National Environmental Policy in all of their decision making process.
  • The National Environmental Policy

The law includes a multidisciplinary approach to take into consideration environmental aspects in decision-making. The subsequently enacted President’s Council on Environmental Quality made the regulations that implemented the law to apply to all organizations.

On July 9, 1970, President Richard Nixon presented Reorganization Plan No. 3 to the U.S. Congress, creating U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an agency charged with the protection of the natural environment and protecting human health. The agency was tasked to repair the wanton destruction done to the environment and to establish criteria that would serve to guide United States citizens. Before the establishment of this agency, the federal government was all but uncoordinated in combating the emissions of pollutants that were degrading the environment at an alarming rate. The EPA commenced its operations on December 2, 1970.

The EPA now has 10 regional offices, 27 laboratories situated across the United States, and 17,000 people working under its employ. More than 50% of their staff are scientists, engineers, and specialists in environmental protection.

The agency does research, education, and environmental assessment. Its prime responsibility is laying down and enforcing national standards under various environmental laws. It also delegates several monitoring and enforcement responsibilities to states in the country and Native American tribes.

More importantly, the EPA also coordinates with industries and all tiers of the government in a broad range of voluntary pollution prevention drives and energy conservation programs.

These two legislations made by the United States government gave rise to the U.S. Green Building Council, a non-profit entity that advocates sustainability in how edifices are designed, constructed, and operated. This organization developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, which is a collection of standards for eco-friendly construction. Since LEED’s commencement in 1998, it has affected 14,000 projects in 30 countries that cover a total of 1.062 billion square feet.

It has now been a rising trend for multinational corporations and other immense corporate entities to coordinate with the EPA and acquire LEED-certifications for their structures. Doing so earns them prestige and support from a larger, environmentally aware consumer base. LEED-certified structures employ eco-friendly standards and laws into the workplace. Some examples are:

  • The usage of sustainable materials in constructing buildings like species of trees that quickly replenish their numbers.
  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
  • Use of the environs for water efficiency
  • Maximized use of daylight to illuminate office space
  • Use of solar power to heat water
  • Use of recycled paper in the day-to-day operations
  • Use of energy-efficient equipment

Environment resources