Question 1: Describe the ways in which the widespread adoption of clean cookstoves will address the global environmental issues discussed in Chapter 9.
Technology has changed day-to-day operations of people in the world. However, nearly 3 billion still use firewood, dung, and coal in open fires to cook food, boil water, and even warm homes. The negative impacts of using the mentioned sources of energy on the environment and human health are significant. For example, open fires produce acidic smoke and other fine particulates that deteriorate human health. Nearly 2 million people die globally each year as a result of inhaling such gases. Women and children, who spend more of their time near these open fires while are the most affected. Other than premature deaths that are on the rise, many people also develop diseases such as pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart and lung complications result from inhaling the acidic soot (Kurmi, Semple, Simkhada, Smith, & Ayres, 2010). Additionally, the use of open fires and inefficient cooking stoves has adverse effects on the environment. Charcoal and wood release black carbon into the atmosphere when they are burned. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves encourages the use of clean cookstoves that have a less environmental impact compared to the mentioned methods. Adopting these stoves will address global environmental issues.
As mentioned, burning wood for cooking also injects black carbon into the atmosphere. Therefore, inefficient cookstoves and open fires are a source of environmental pollution. The more households use open fires and inefficient fuel sources, the more they emit greenhouse gas emission, leading to climate change. Environmental issues are a global concern hence scientists and different bodies, such as the United Nations, work hard to put mitigation measures in place. The adoption of the clean cookstoves by the global community stands to play a significant role in preserving the environment. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is the main champion as it seeks to ensure that 100 million households adopt clean cookstoves and fuels by 2020 (Umair, 2013). Additionally, environmentalists, government agencies, scientists and the corporate have come together through United Nations forums to adopt clean energy sources for environmental benefits.
Reliance on firewood as a source of fuel leads to the destruction of forests. In many developing countries, families rely on firewood to cook. The use of this source of of fuel necessitates the cutting down of trees. as long as demand for firewood is high, deforestation will persist. The pressure on natural resources is already high and the forest cover in many developing countries is on the decrease. The reduction of the forest cover leads to the reduction of rainfall for agricultural activities and the general health of the ecosystem (Rhodes, Dreibelbis, Klasen, Naithani, Baliddawa, Menya, Khatry, Levy, Tielsch, 2014). Additionally, continued reliance on firewood leads to other environmental problems, such as landslides and loss of water catchment areas. Therefore, the adoption of clean cookstoves is one of the ways of reducing overreliance on firewood as fuel households in developing countries. In turn, deforestation and other issues that are caused by using firewood are likely to be slowed down.
Population growth is expected to increase with time, exerting more pressure on scarce natural resources. The phenomenon, especially in developing countries, would translate to an increase in the demand for unclean fuel. Cooking using open fires and inefficient stoves also leads to the loss of heat. As such, a lot of firewood is required to cook food. As such, without adopting clean cookstoves, the demand for fuel will lead to more logging of trees (Shen, Lin, Chen, Yue, Liu, & Yang, 2015). The global impact of logging will be enormous if the efforts towards the adoption of clean cookstoves will not be intensified by stakeholders.
The traditional cookstoves in most of the developing world contribute to the high outdoor air pollution, which is already a problem in large cities in countries like India and China. Research done by the University of California found that most of the damaging particulate in the air comes from the burning of household fuel sources, such as coal and biomass (Hanna, Duflo, & Greenstone, 2012). Therefore, households that lack access to clean energy contribute to air pollution in the world significantly. Notably, air pollution affects both households that use clean energy as well as those that do not because the gas that is emitted diffuses through the air. Nevertheless, fforts towards adopting clean cookstoves will eventually lead to the reduction of global air pollution.
Question 2: Describe the ways in which the widespread adoption of clean cookstoves will address the issues of economic development and poverty discussed in Chapter 9.
Reliance on inefficient cookstoves has a huge economic impact on the affected households and beyond. In most traditional households, women are girls are responsible for the collection of solid fuels and cooking in houses. The women and girls waste a lot of time in the collection of firewood. The time taken to collection this source of energy could be redirected to other economically viable projects, such as education and working for wages. Due to the scarcity of fuel sources, the women are unable to participate in productive labor that benefits the family. For example, many women are unable to sustain businesses because of the demand to look for fuel sources. Therefore, the economic statuses of these families are affected. If the need to collect firewood is eliminated, then the women can dedicate time to their businesses thus increase the living standards of them and their families.
Girls who collection fuel for the families lose school time, yet education is an important aspect of building the economy. Indeed, the prospects of families in developing countries lie in education and training. Girls, who in this case, spend hours collecting the fuel, are supposed to be in school. Therefore, most of the affected girls miss a lot of school time thus it is hard for them to excel in school and achieve economic excellence. The economic prospect of these girls is affected because of lack of training. For example, they attain low grades and cannot afford higher institutions of learning, thus they do not gain the skills they need to secure well-paying jobs. Adopting clean cookstoves will ensure that girls stay in school and perform well thus participate in gainful employment for the benefit of the family and society.
Gender-based violence is common in areas that have not adopted clean cookstoves. In countries like Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo that have high conflict rates, the women and girls are exposed rape and physical assault among other aggressions. In places where armed conflicts have led to the emergence of refugees, the reported incidences of rape and physical assault on girls and women occur outside of the camp while collecting firewood for cooking. The stigma and fear associated with incidences of rape and physical abuse affect the productivity of the women and girls in society. As such, the eradication of the use of these fuels may reduce the prevalence of the mentioned crimes against women.
Economic costs from the use of inefficient fuel sources are high among poor households. Solid fuels may appear cheap on the face value; however, families pay up to a third of their salaries in acquiring solid fuel sources. The majority of the affected families are poor; they earn one dollar or two per day. As such, stretching the scarce resources to cover for housing, education, fuel, clothing, food, and medical cover is difficult. The money that should be used to buy medicine for sick children or the pay school fees is used to purchase firewood or charcoal for cooking. Most families argue that clean cookstoves are expensive because they do not understand that the initial cost of the product is recovered within a short time. As such, they should be educated so that they can understand that adopting clean cooking alternatives will save them some money. The little people earn can then be directed towards other uses that have a positive economic impact on families and society.
Governments feel the pressure of the use of unclean cooking methods. Governments are responsible for the general health of their citizens through the provision of services. As mentioned, inhaling the smoke from unclean household fuel sources leads to health problems, including lung cancer and heart complications. As such, the use of unclean energy sources subjects governments and families to incurring high costs of caring for the victims of the conditions. Such revenue could be put in productive uses for the benefit of the citizens through economic growth. On the same note, research proves that more children and women exposed to unclean household fuel die prematurely than those not exposed it (Hanna, Duflo, & Greenstone, 2012). Therefore, countries that have not adopted the clean cookstoves are likely to register high mortality rates. The young people who could contribute to the economic growth of the country die prematurely, thus the economies struggle.
The logging of trees to burn charcoal leads to deforestation and loss of biodiversity. Harvesting trees for firewood causes the destruction of watershed areas that contribute to the clean water for consumption. The logging, together with the black carbon and carbon dioxide emitted by burning the unclean fuel sources, has caused climate change. The poor families that rely on unclean cooking fuels also rely on subsistence farming for upkeep. The lack of rain that has resulted from climate change and reduced forest cover has made it hard for the firms to be productive thus reducing the supply of food and income gained from the sale of food. Therefore, adopting clean cookstoves will slow down climatic change, and increase biodiversity and rainfall, and improve agricultural yields for families.
Part B: Hewlett-Packard (HP)
Hewlett-Packard (HP) or HP Inc. is one of the top technology companies that control the global market. The firm manufactures computers and other access technologies on a global scale. Other than the success of the business strategies the company has put in place, its growth has come from efforts towards environmental sustainability. The shift to more environmentally and socially responsible business management practices is responsible for the technological advancements and the high market share. The three major external factors that have led to environmentally friendly business practices are the need to tackle climate change, the increasing competition in the technological industry, and the need for environmental conservation. Indeed, the external factors revolve around positive changes on the planet.
Climate change is a fact of today’s existence. The more the advancement in technologies, the more the need to adopt cleaner energy arises because of the increased demand for energy. The traditional fossil fuel sources of energy are not environmental friendly because they lead to climate change. HP Inc. has adopted sustainable business practices that seek to mitigate adverse climatic changes in the world. The company seeks to produce goods and services that reduce the amount of carbon for a healthier planet. For example, the corporations incorporated a way to reduce deforestation, which is one of the major drivers of climate change. The firm adopted a way of packaging its products that reduced the use of papers. So far, the company has achieved 100% target with regard to the papers it use for branding purposes (Adams, & Jeanrenaud, 2018). All the brand papers are manufactured from recycled wastes collected from different parts of the world.
Environmental pollution as a result of electronics waste is a concern for all technological giants. Dumping electronic wastes in developing countries has caused some health issues among the residents of the nations. Most of these parts have dangerous heavy metals, such as lead, which find their way to the foods and water consumed in these republics. The accumulation of such wastes and their consumption has been reported to lead to chronic diseases, including cancer (Ross, 2010). HP Inc. recognizes the mentioned concerns thus the corporation uses have embraced recycling and reducing wastes emanating from its processes. For example, the plastics used in the production process are recycles or reused rather than dumped in the environment.
The company has developed ways to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions that its processes produce. Burning of the fossils fuels by vehicles is one of the major sources of green house gases. Therefore, HP Inc. has adopted ways of reducing such emissions during the supply and transport of its products to the market. Besides, the firm works towards reducing its carbon emission into the environment. In essence, it targets to cut down its carbon dioxide emission by 2 million tons by 2025. The corporation’s sustainable operations have reduced the emission of the gas by than one million tons, an impressive feat so far (Magdoff, & Foster, 2019). The increased competition within the industry and the awareness of environmental degradation by large corporates has pushed HP Inc. to invent products that support environmental sustainability. HP Inc. is one of the technology companies that have signed environmental conservation agreements in the past. Therefore, its products stand out from those of the companies that are not environmentally conscious to the customers who are aware of and value environmentally-friendly business practices. Today, customers prefer products that have environmental sustainability aspects. As such, the company employs business practices that seek to keep the people safe with respect to preserving the environment.
The need for cheaper sources of energy is one of the internal reasons for the adoption of sustainable business practices. The traditional forms of energy are not only expensive to the operations of the company. Therefore, HP Inc. has an ambitious plan to adopt renewable sources of energy in all its operations. The company targets to use 100% of renewable energy in all its global operations by 2035. By 2018, the enterprise had already achieved 78% when it produced 276,000 MWh of renewable electricity (Coster, 2019). The efficiency that renewable energy brings to manufacturing is important for environmental sustainability. It also means less pollution of the air thus protecting the health of the workers.
Maximizing on the scarce resources during production is another influence for adopting business processes with sustainability. The company uses potable water in its production process and for use by the staff within workstations. When the production increases, so does the consumption of potable water. However, social responsibility requires that the company becomes aware of the community’s need for the same potable water. For this reason, the company has a plan to reduce the amount of potable water used in its operations by 15% by 2025 (Taheri, Farrington, Curran, & O’Gorman, 2017). The company had already achieved 40% of the target by the end 2018 when it consumed 2,997,000 cubic meters, 6% less than the amount it had used up in 2015.
The major impact of the sustainable development initiatives by HP Inc. is evident through climate change and environmental conservation. Electronic wastes are sources of many health complications in the affected areas. The adoption of recycling and reduction of wastes has eradicated the electronic wastes from dumpsites, especially in developing nations. Most of the products of HP. Inc and their components are reusable. Additionally, the use of less paper packaging has contributed to the preservation of biodiversity and rainfall and reduced potable water consumption has ensured that society has more water for consumption.
HP Inc.’s managers are aware that without working with other stakeholders, some of the sustainable initiatives may never work. For this reason, the company uses the internet to engage customers and potential customers regarding the viability of its products. The corporation realizes that communication channels create transparency in all operations, thus, it uses the internet to educate all the suppliers and customers on the need for sustainability. Moreover, the enterprise periodically releases the amount of emissions from the top suppliers and distributors. The company does this to encourage transparency and commitment to the climate change in all operations. The internet serves an important part in the initiatives because it offers immediate education and interaction between the clients and the company on sustainability.
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