Many businesses are adopting environmentally sustainable work practises in an effort to become more socially responsible. IKEA has installed 700,000 solar panels to increase energy efficiency, RB has planted more than 7 million trees, and Olleco has dramatically reduced its carbon emissions by using food waste as fuel. These efforts sound impressive on paper, but can businesses actually have a lasting impact on the environment?
The Swedish town of Kiruna proves that businesses can greatly influence their surrounding environments.
Founded in 1900, Kiruna is a small mining town in the Arctic Circle and home to 18,000 people. Although mining led to the town's creation and economic success, it has also caused problems for the local environment. Mining has created deep fissures in the ground, which have slowly begun to spread toward Kiruna. Eventually, the land on which the town sits will collapse into the earth. Due to the fact that Kiruna has the world's largest underground iron ore mine and its closing would result in serious unemployment, they have decided to continue mining in the area. But what will happen to Kiruna?
Kiruna's current location may sink into the ground, but the community will not disappear. The state-owned Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara AB mining company in Kiruna has hired architecture firm White Arkitekter AB to rebuild the town 3km to the east. White has designed a town layout that emphasises sustainable living and innovative technology. However, Kiruna will retain aspects of its original style. Several buildings from the original town will be deconstructed, transferred, and rebuilt at the new location. The Kiruna project is expected to be completed by 2033, with all of its residents settled into their new homes.
Want to learn more about the town's transformation? This March, Krister Lindstedt, Lead Architect on the project, will be coming to Scotland to discuss Kiruna at the event, "Moving Kiruna: A community reinventing its city."
The event will take place at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh on 8 March 2016 between 18:00 and 20:00 (GMT).
The event is free and open to the public, attendees must register online.
Kiruna reveals the strong impact that businesses can have on the environment. Businesses can create towns that thrive on natural resources, and these towns may erode the landscape. Businesses can also improve the relationship between people and the environment through sustainable work practises. The mining industry in Kiruna has demonstrated a strong sense of corporate social responsibility by funding the move and by helping to create a new town that is more sustainable. It has also proven that sustainable business practises can truly make a difference.