Environmental Responsibility – Concept, function and ecological obligations

We explain what the environmental responsibility of an economic activity is, its social function and what obligations it establishes.

environmental responsibility
Environmental responsibility establishes an ecological obligation of economic agents.

What is environmental responsibility?

Environmental responsibility is the set of injuries, more or less serious, caused by an economic activity or a lifestyle in nature as a whole (other species, ecosystems, etc.) and therefore in the quality of life of future human generations, both through direct action and inaction.

Just as there is a social responsibility of all economic activity with respect to the community where it is located and whose capacity to work it takes advantage of, there is also an environmental responsibility of organizations and individuals with respect to the environment in which they live, work and lead. carry out their duties.

Although this was neither a concern nor a concept present in legislation until the late 20th century, today it is considered an inescapable aspect of any attempt at sustainable development or “green” economy.

In this sense, the 1972 Stockholm Conference was key in making these issues visible, which must necessarily govern economic and industrial life, under the slogan that “whoever pollutes, pays.” The alternative is to continue with a model of industrial development irresponsible with the environment, whose ecological damages will be paid with immense increases in the future.

Environmental responsibility dictates compensatory obligations regarding the use of natural resources. For example, if a logging company fells hundreds of trees in a period of time, it must at the same time invest in replacing them, thus causing the least possible long-term environmental damage.

In other words, environmental responsibility establishes an ecological obligation for economic agents, which can be translated in practice into conservation activities, promotion of a “green” culture or energy saving, to name a few examples. In this way, they reduce the ecological impact of their activity and compensate it with activities that also generate employment and contribute to an economy that is more compatible with planet Earth.

As well as corporate social responsibility, environmental responsibility responds to public or State guidelines, and to the company’s own commitment to future generations, which is a minimum ethical requirement for any type of economic or productive activity: not to cost the world , in the long run, more than the wealth generated today.