The Novel Coronavirus attacked the global economies when these were already struggling to survive the catastrophic impact of natural environmental degradation and climate change. All over the world, natural resources are depleting at an unprecedented rate and on the other side Greenhouse Gases emissions are accelerating rapidly. Engulfed in pollution, smog and waste, the entire world was suddenly jolted as the devastating Covid-19 wreaked havoc all around. Suddenly, the human race faced a double whammy impact, i.e. the threats of both Covid-19 and climate change. During the early days of the pandemic, a decrease in the global Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emission and improvement in the air quality was observed. According to the International Energy Agency, an 8% decrease in Greenhouse Gas emissions was observed in this year as opposed to the projected numbers. Some analysts and experts prematurely started envisioning COVID-19 as having positive influences on natural environment.
However, this is not the case. We are facing a double whammy situation in which the human race is in danger of being crushed under the devastating impacts of these two catastrophes. The momentary decrease in global pollution levels were due to the suspension of almost all human activities such as all forms of travelling, industrial activities, business activities, etc. due to lockdown. These environmentally unsustainable activities started / resumed as soon as the Covid-19 lockdowns were lifted and countries like Pakistan are once again facing the threats of high air pollution levels and the resultant smog. Climate change has intensified the Covid-19 dilemma since it has been reported that people living in smog affected areas will be more vulnerable to the deadly virus due to weak respiratory systems and surrounding pollution. This validates the proposition that climate change and global pandemics are in fact intertwined in terms of their effect on human race and strategies required to combat them.
A collective and well-coordinated action is required from all concerned stakeholders to combat the effects of this double collision which can otherwise prove fatal to mankind. As the world continues to adopt and adjust to the 'new normal', it should be ensured that the new way of doing things is based on the principles of green management and sustainability. In this regard, digitalization of business processes will play a major role in all future programmes. The COVID-19 has greatly accelerated the digitalization of various business.
operations. Pakistan's banking industry has been the front runner in the efforts to digitalized its business operations and provide digital solutions to its customers. Stimulated by the Covid-19, this green management approach can pave the way for the sustainable and green growth of our country's economy. The need of the time is not only to create green business practices but also a green conscious workforce. The Covid-19 has proved the ability of various businesses to revamp the business operations in line with the changing external environment. This ability should be utilized to create an economic system that has the resilience to combat and survive future pandemic and global catastrophes. Pakistan's banking industry is leading the rest of the economy in a digital era. This green movement requires the development of the required cognitive, technical, and attitudinal modification in workforce behavior. In the absence of green management principles, we will be in a state of continuous vulnerability against various unprecedented disasters and climate change catastrophes. The COVID-19 is a wake-up call for the whole world to think green and act green before it is too late.
(The writer is the General Manager - Supply Chain & Procurement at Bank AL Habib Limited. He has more than 22 years of managerial experience in a number of reputed national and international organizations. Email: [email protected])
Copyright Business Recorder, 2020