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GOAL FF05 | Business activities

Operational emissions do not harm people or the environment

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A Future-Fit Business eliminates all forms of harmful emissions from its operations – gaseous, liquid and solid.

What this goal means

Company operations can cause the release of a range of chemicals and particles. The emission of substances that are already abundant in nature, and of substances that nature can break down rapidly and without consequence, are not a concern.

Some substances are known to be toxic to people and organisms. Other substances may not seem immediately harmful, but if nature cannot break them down rapidly they may – through emission into air, land or water – systematically build up in the environment to dangerous levels. Substances of greatest concern include those that are scarce in nature (e.g. trace metals such as cadmium), those that are persistent (e.g. CFCs), and those that are emitted in large volumes (e.g. NOx). All such potentially harmful substances must be kept in tight closed loops, or not used in the first place. The context of this goal may vary from local (e.g. soil, rivers) to global (e.g. air, oceans) depending on the substance and mode of emission.

To be Future-Fit a company must:

  1. Eliminate all harmful gaseous emissions (e.g. air pollutants, toxic fumes);
  2. Eliminate all harmful solid emissions (e.g. scarce metals, use of hazardous fertilizers);
  3. Eliminate all harmful liquid emissions (e.g. spills, liquid toxic waste, chemical fluids).

Why this goal is needed...

Chemicals released by industrial processes continue to build up in nature and cause irreparable harm.

In 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that globally, there were 800,000 deaths attributable to occupational particulates and poisonings. As only a small number of chemicals were assessed the true figure is likely to be higher.

Transboundary air pollution, of which industrial processes are a significant contributor, is a major environmental risk to public health.

Airborne contaminants were the leading cause of death by pollution, claiming 6.5 million lives in 2015 from a mixture of heart disease, strokes, and respiratory ailments.

Furthermore, the cost of pollution to the global economy is staggering.

Air pollution alone costs the global economy more than $5 trillion annually in welfare costs, with the most devastating damage occurring in the developing world, according to the World Bank.

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