CSR and the environment

One of the main drivers of companies’ CSR efforts is the environment. After all, unlike other potentially contentious areas, there are very few people who will argue that we need to do less for it.

Originally, the accepted wisdom was that the more an organisation spent on environmental initiatives, the greater the benefit would be at the ticker because eco-conscious investors would support this by buying and holding the stock.

However in a Harvard Law School Forum of Corporate Governance paper called ‘Following the Smart Money’ published in 2016, the authors showed that companies who spent less than what was required on environmental issues (those they called ‘toxic’ companies) together with companies that spent more than what was required (they called these ‘green’ companies) both fared worse in terms of investments and stock value than companies who judged the situation better and spent just what was required and no more.

The implication is obvious: The investors shunned the ‘toxic’ companies as they were accidents waiting to happen, whilst they considered the ‘green’ companies to be profligate tree huggers. Only the companies that hit the sweet spot between going green and greenbacks got their investment.

The environmental sweet spot

The trick is knowing where that sweet spot is. And to return to Milton Friedman once more, writing in ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch’, he states: ‘Even the most ardent environmentalist doesn’t really want to stop pollution. If he thinks about it, and doesn’t just talk about it, he wants to have the right amount of pollution. We can’t really afford to eliminate it – not without abandoning all the benefits of technology that we not only enjoy but on which we depend.’

Although written 50 years ago and even with the benefit of hindsight, this is still basically true today, even though public opinion and most of the parameters on which he’ll have based his opinion have changed immeasurably.

Therefore, getting the balance right between being too ‘toxic’ and too ‘green’ is where any company concerned with chemical-based manufacturing processes needs to be, so it can present itself as a socially responsible organisation and to reap the benefits of eco-conscious investing.

Arvia in the future

Our expectation is that soon any publicly listed company that uses large volumes of water will be increasingly under scrutiny from eco-savvy investors and therefore it makes sense to examine the possibilities of additional water treatment with a goal of reducing water use and wastewater discharges – as this all makes for good CSR and financial sense.

At Arvia we offer a range of water polishing treatments that can remove a vast array of organic chemicals and even residual colour from wastewater.  Our unique, patented Nyex™ treatment systems can be used to treat wastewater up and downstream from biological processes, pre and post reverse osmosis (to treat the RO reject stream) and in combination with ion exchange systems.

Depending on the application, Nyex™ systems can also work in parallel or in place of legacy systems like activated carbon filtration, reducing downtime and the associated environmentally harmful processes its manufacture and reprocessing involves.