Globalization has had a significant impact on the economy, ecology and society over the past decade. Meanwhile, the green economy has emerged as a critical policy framework for growth and development in developed and developing nations. This article seeks to provide a detailed overview on globalization, green economy and climate challenges in order to draw some conclusions. There are differences between competitive green economic discourses and different definitions, all of which have problems. Recognizing the environmental effects of depletion of natural resources and the economic benefits of environmental management are common examples of green economy operations.
World Health Organization states globalization as “increasing interconnectedness and interdependence among individuals and nations. It is generally understood to include two interrelated components: opening up international borders for an increasingly rapid flow of goods, services, money, people and ideas; and changes in institutions and policies nationally and internationally that facilitate or promote such flows.
Globalization has had far-reaching impacts on our lifestyle. It has led to quicker access to technology, improved communication and innovation. In addition to playing an important role in bringing people of different cultures together, it has ushered in a new era in economic prosperity and opened up vast channels of development. However, globalization has also raised some areas of concern, the main one being its impact on the environment. Globalization has been widely featured in discussions on environmentalism, and green activists have highlighted its far-reaching effects. Now let’s understand about the impact of globalization on our environment.
Globalization is the procedure of integration and interaction among people from different corners of the world. Globalization affects the environment which leads to global warming. MNC dumps their waste into the sea; the soil absorbs harmful chemicals and affects the ecosystem. Most developing countries invite developed countries to invest and overcome global barriers and create jobs but face negative effects.
The rapid growth of emerging countries over the years has also led to large emissions of greenhouse gases. Climate change is a major environmental problem that has connectivity through greenhouse gas emissions. MNC plays a role in social, cultural and political issues; the growing trend of MNCs has led international law to think about CSR-corporate social responsibility, the most important aspect of CSR being the environmental issue. Corporate Environmental Responsibility (CER) aims to raise awareness about the impact on the environment and the carbon footprint on natural resources.
Activists point out that globalization has led to an increase in consumption of products, which has affected the environmental cycle. An increase in consumption leads to an increase in the production of goods, which in turn puts a strain on the environment. Globalization has also increased the movement of raw materials and food items from one place to another. Previously, people used locally grown food, but with globalization, people use products developed in foreign countries. The fuel used in the transportation of these products has increased the level of pollution in the environment. It has also caused other environmental concerns such as noise pollution and landscape infiltration. Transportation has also emphasized non-renewable sources of energy, such as gasoline. The gases emitted from the aircraft increase the greenhouse effect as well as lead to depletion of the ozone layer. The industrial waste generated as a result of production is dumped on ships and dumped in the oceans. This has killed many underwater creatures and accumulated many harmful chemicals in the oceans. Oil damage to the ecosystem from one of British Petroleum’s leaked containers in 2010 is one of the examples of the threat to globalization of the environment.
Due to globalization and industrialization, various chemicals have been dumped in the soil resulting in many harmful weeds and plant growth. This toxic waste causes a lot of damage to plants by interfering with their genetic makeup. This has put pressure on the available land resources. In many parts of the world, mountains are cut down to make way for passing tunnels or highways. Large barren lands have been infringed upon to pave the way for new buildings. While humans can enjoy these innovations in the dim, this can have long-term effects on the environment. Over the years various studies have found that plastic is one of the major toxic pollutants, as it is a non-biodegradable product. However, plastic is widely used when it comes to packaging and maintenance of goods to be exported. This has led to increased use of plastics, which has led to widespread environmental pollution.
Increased Transport of Goods
One of the primary consequences of globalization is that it opens up businesses to new markets in which they can sell goods and resource labor, raw materials and components.
Both of these realities mean that finished products now travel farther than ever before potentially halfway around the world. In the past, products were more likely to be manufactured, sold and consumed locally. This increased transportation of goods can affect the environment in many ways, including the following:
Increased emissions: The farther away the product goes, the more fuel is used, and the greater the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced. These emissions contribute to pollution, climate change and ocean acidification worldwide and have been shown to significantly affect biodiversity.
Habitat destruction: Transportation—especially when it is land-based—requires good infrastructure like roads and bridges. The development of such infrastructure can lead to issues including housing loss and pollution. According to the report of the International Transport Forum, it is worth noting that about 70 percent of the goods are transported by ship. The more ships that travel by sea, the greater the risk of oil spills or leaks damaging the fragile marine environment.
Invasive species: Each shipping container and vessel presents an opportunity for living organisms – from plants to animals to fungi – to ride to a new location where it can become aggressive and evolve without checks and balances that may be present in its natural environment.
A frequently overlooked side effect of globalization is that it allows nations and geographical regions to focus on their economic powers, knowing that they may turn to trading partners for goods that they do not produce themselves. This economic feature often increases productivity and efficiency.
Unfortunately, overuse can lead to serious environmental problems, often in the form of habitat loss, deforestation or overuse of natural resources. A few examples include:
- Illegal deforestation in Brazil has led to an increase in the country’s animal husbandry operations, which require significant land for grazing.
- Excessive fishing in coastal areas, including Southeast Asia, has led to significant reductions in fish populations and marine pollution.
- Excessive reliance on cash crops, such as coffee, cocoa and various fruits, contributes to habitat loss, especially in tropical climates.
It is worth noting that globalization has allowed some nations to specialize in the production of various energy commodities, such as oil, natural gas and timber. Nations that rely upon the sales of energy for their national budgets funds and the countries which prioritize “energy security” are more likely to take intervening actions in the market in the form of subsidies or laws which make transition to renewable energy harder.
The main byproduct of these energy sources comes in the form of greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute significantly to global warming and climate change.
Increased greenhouse gas emissions, ocean acidification, deforestation (and other forms of habitat loss or extinction), climate change, and the introduction of invasive species all work to reduce global biodiversity.
According to a recent Living Planet report by the World Wildlife Fund, the population of all living things, including mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles, has declined by 68 percent since 1970. Latin America and Africa – two fast-growing regions – important for global trade – have seen disproportionate levels of loss of biodiversity, especially in environmentally sensitive fish, reptiles and amphibians.
While this decline in biodiversity has many causes, it is widely believed that the issues listed above have contributed in part.
While many of the environmental effects of globalization have been negative, its rise has led to an increase in environmental awareness around the world.
Greater connectivity and higher rates of international travel have made it easier than ever for people to see the effects of deforestation, habitat loss, and climate change on the environment. This, in turn, contributes to new laws, rules and procedures that limit negative effects.
THE ROLE OF MNCs
Globalization has allowed societies to enjoy many benefits, including increased global cooperation, reduced risk of global conflict, and lower commodity prices. Unfortunately, it also leads to serious negative effects on the environment.
Because globalization cannot be ended or reversed, the situation is likely to worsen unless nations, governing bodies and other bodies are forced to enact laws and regulations limiting the negative effects.
Businesses and industries operating globally are encouraged to take any voluntary action to reduce the likelihood of negative outcomes. Doing so not only gives the organization more control over its initiatives, but can also be a powerful marketing and communication tool.
Investing in renewable energy and packaging, adopting responsible land-use management and shifting the production of goods closer to the end customer are all potential options that businesses can and should consider. The challenge is to balance the desire to accept corporate social responsibility with the need to make a profit and run a successful business.
It has made so many changes in our lives that it is impossible to reverse them. The solution lies in developing effective mechanisms that can test the extent to which it can affect the environment. Researchers believe that the answer lies in the problem itself, which means that globalization itself can support the creation of better infrastructure that is economically feasible and environmentally friendly. Globalization is about competition, and if some privately owned companies can take the lead in becoming environmentally friendly, it will encourage others to follow suit.
In most cases it has been reported that developed countries use developing countries and underdeveloped countries to their advantage. For example, in these countries, the MNC’s get cheap labour and availability of resources in abundance to increase their profits which lead to affect the developed countries because they have skilled labour and are available to them at the high price. So they look for labour available at low cost and make them skilled in the field.
We become interdependent through globalization so if the economic growth of one country affects the other then at the same time globalization has a huge impact on the environment both positively and negatively. But globalization has helped to increase the environmental damage we are facing. Today, some national, international policies have been formulated to mitigate the effects of globalization on the environment.
Increased greenhouse gas emission
Climate change is a major environmental problem that has connectivity through greenhouse gas emissions – excessive maintenance of solar energy in the atmosphere due to the accumulation of certain gases, especially CO2.
The main source of CO2 emissions is industrial production, transportation and deforestation but it is also considered as a source of development in the 20th century and especially in recent times.
Transportation by sea links also increases the likelihood of oil spills affecting reservoirs, and marine pollution kills 1,000 marine fish and small fish.
Developed countries are major players in global industrialization and the largest pollutant in GHG emissions. Example: The United States is responsible for about 20% of global GHG.
The rapid growth of emerging countries over the years has also led to large emitters of GHG. Developing countries heartily appreciate globalization and put the environment at the expense of making a profit. The biggest example is China, which is invincible to quench its energy thirst by opening a new coal-fired power plant every week. However, coal is the cheapest and most abundant fossil fuel and the most polluted. China is considered the world’s largest emitter of CO2 emissions, but it also manages rigorous renewable energy programs. Countries like India, US, UK and some countries are trying to reach 100% renewable energy by 2030.
Globalization encourages Deforestation
Logging and burning of trees reduces the amount of CO2 converted to oxygen by plants. Converting rainforests / oxygen houses into farmland or concrete forests for the production of goods, and meeting the market demand in one way or another, almost twice the size of Paris per day for agricultural purposes, especially in developing countries. In Brazil, for example, a few years ago most of its farming was export-oriented. Brazil’s soybean exports to China increased from 15,000 to 6 million tons.
The poorest areas are most affected by global warming. By 2060, drought could sterilize 90 million hectares of land in sub-Saharan Africa. About 1.8 billion people could face water shortages in the next 70 years. Central Asia, northern China and the Andes are especially in danger.
One of the reasons for the increase in the number of natural disasters like hurricanes, hurricanes, floods and earthquakes is also global warming; the melting of glaciers increases the sea level. Coastal areas are at high risk. Rising temperatures could soon lead to the extinction of living species, such as penguins, snow leopards, dolphins, whales, and polar bears, which are declared endangered. It feels bad to know that this cute animal will only have to pay for its life due to human activities and it will leave an incredible mark on the world ecosystem.
Increase of fishing in the water bodies
Excessive fishing has put pressure on the oceans of some fish species. Overfishing is done not only for consumption but also for medicinal use due to increasing global demand.
The Mediterranean bluefin tuna has met a similar fate, with delicacies in Japan threatened with extinction due to overfishing. In Denmark on the Faroe Islands, 1400 dolphins have been killed in hunting for dolphins and whales on the island used to be used for hunting dolphins for their consumption but now poaching has increased due to illegal marketing.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 22% of the world’s mammals are endangered, as well as 24% of the world’s snake species, 31% of the world’s amphibians and 35% of the world’s birds.
Recent scenario from September 2021
The Gulf of Mexico is covered with a web of pipes, wells and other energy structures. As a result of the extraction of oil from these unused pipelines, many of them are no longer used. The oil spilt was used by Talos, the former holder of which was on the offshore lease in the area. Coast Guards are asked to clean the spill but when the investigation was conducted and questioned Talos. They stated that the spilt pipeline was not owed by them.
In July 2020, oil tanker MV Vakashio was reportedly carrying 4,000 metric tons of oil floating on the Coral Reef on an island off the southern coast of Mauritius, with 1,000 metric tons of fuel leaking into the Indian Ocean from a cracked ship causing pollution around. In another case, a large freshwater lake in Russia’s Arctic North was polluted by a massive diesel oil spill and the Arctic Ocean was threatened for up to 12 miles. These kinds of disasters are big dangers in modern times.
Plastic is a major toxic pollutant as it is a non-biodegradable product that is widely used for packaging and maintenance of goods for export and increases the consumption of plastics and causes environmental pollution.
Globalization is all about competition and sustainment. Private companies should start using eco-friendly technologies that are economically feasible. MNCs play a role in social, cultural and political issues; the growing trend of MNCs has prompted international law to consider CSR-Corporate Social Responsibility, the most important aspect of CSR being the environmental issue. In case of environmental damage, they should be responsible for it and compensate for such damage.
The corporation has adopted an Environmental Management System (EMS) that requires informed consensus on environmental management objectives and policies based on a better understanding of the players and the roles and responsibilities of the players, including the pollutants and the affected community. Various laws are enacted to curb the adverse environmental problem but the implementation of these laws is weak. The MNC has identified environmental management as a trend and has included it in its annual reports but has not adopted a meaningful approach.
A plant in Uttar Pradesh has been closed down since they were extracting too much groundwater for their bottling plant. It was instructed to them that the water which you have extracted twice should be considered as depleting the ground water. The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board has ordered the closure of the Coca-Cola Company. The company went to the National Green Tribunal for a closure order.
Parle, Britannia, Amul and ITC are the biggest polluters in India, while the MNC’s like PepsiCo, Perfetti Van Melle, Hindustan Unilever, and Coca-Cola are toppers in the polluters’ list.
They use single-use disposable and low-value plastic packaging onto consumers to improve their profit margins. PepsiCo cites that by 2025 the company will recycle its packaging and plastic waste and use 100% compostable, plant-based packaging for its two most popular products. CSR focuses on energy use, water use, waste management, recycling, emissions, etc. Developed nations view the environmental issue as a trade barrier that they exploit by polluting the underdeveloped country and using polluting technologies and should be severely punished for their dumping policies.
Corporate Environmental Responsibility (CER) aims to raise awareness about the impact of the environment and the carbon footprint on natural resources.
It is important that we make some efforts to maintain harmony with the environment. The existence of the human race on this planet is so dependent on the environment that we cannot ignore the consequences of our own actions. While there is a lot of discussion and debate going on this issue, the need of the hour is to formulate effective policies and implement those policies. The people we have chosen to represent us have a responsibility to reduce the damage to the environment if it is not completely stopped. We hope this article helps you understand globalization and its impact on the environment and the importance of taking concrete action against it.