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Natural Awakenings Boston

Business Tools for Climate Change

Oct 01, 2014 10:33AM ● By Natalia Ortiz

Many businesses may not consider the effects of climate change on their operations. In fact, climate change adversely affects business services by disrupting the supply chain, data management and critical infrastructure. More important are the economic risks and the disconnection that occurs between communities.

Businesses have the ability to amplify the climate change dialogue and foster a well-informed community through social media. Such tools as Facebook and Twitter can help people to understand the social efficacy of a business and increase interactions between business owners and customers that wish to be socially and environmentally responsible. Customers commenting on and “liking” statuses can create open dialogue and collaboration between individuals and business. With approximately 1.28 billion Facebook users and 255 million Twitter users, one voice can become millions on the Internet.

The Climate Action Liaison Coalition (CALC) works to organize local small business leaders to be more effective and vocal advocates for climate change mitigation and adaptation. CALC’s goal is to coalesce more businesses to act against climate change, and one way to accomplish this is by helping small businesses use the “trending” and sharing activity of social media to demonstrate their work and goals on sustainability. Thus, social media can be used to publicize the commitment of a business to addressing important topics.

It is crucial for emerging businesses in the digital age to communicate their environmental goals and social responsibility efforts through blogging and social networking. When used effectively, these tools can help to inform citizens and create an educated public that’s engaged in the climate change arena and beyond.

A recent social media campaign called “MA Right to Know GMOs” started out as an experiment. Eventually, it managed to obtain 15,000 petitions signed and nearly 5,000 likes on their Facebook page, thanks to people “re-tweeting” on Twitter and sharing on Facebook. More people became aware of the harmful risks of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and how they should be labeled, prompting people to take action on the matter.

In order to demonstrate that they are committed to climate change efforts, businesses should also follow prominent local, national and global figures or associations that champion the cause. Although there is a risk of misinformation, following such credible research websites as that of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is helpful when providing information. This allows businesses to remain informed, while also providing themselves with the opportunity to be noticed through a tweet or post and potentially be “re-tweeted” or shared. The more “re-tweets” and “likes,” the more able the business is to communicate their goals to a broader audience.

In the Boston area, City Feed and Supply has used social media to educate the local community about newly received products and events. This information, conveyed through their Twitter and Facebook accounts, provides a positive interaction with the community. Thanks to these communication efforts, more people are aware of the importance of supporting local markets and suppliers.

While smaller businesses do not have the same scope and capital as larger corporations, they still have the ability to keep their followers informed of sustainability efforts. This allows the community to become better educated, while encouraging people to participate in proactive climate change discussions.

Natalia Ortiz is media coordinator for the Climate Action Liaison Coalition. For more information, visit ClimateActionCoalition.org.

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