Private enterprise or social enterprise:
A new trend in the United Kingdom during the summer of 2007 was the sale of patio heaters, aimed at providing heat in gardens so that people can sit outside in cold weather. Patio heaters first became popular in the USA, but the idea was copied by UK restaurants, so that their customers could dine outside. Later, households started to buy them in large numbers. Also, the manufacturing company employed child labour to assist in the production of the heaters.
The problem is that they are fast becoming a source of greenhouse gases. They burn 14 kilowatts an hour, the same as five electric fans on full power and produce the same volume of climate-changing gases as a speeding lorry. This has prompted the UK Environment minister to call for restraint. He has called for a national campaign to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a third, by using measures such as insulation, energy-efficient light bulbs and reducing car use. But he warned that the increasing number of patio heaters is likely to wipe out any gains made from these measures. Friends of the Earth, an environmental pressure group, have called for an outright ban on patio heaters. However, a spokesman for one of the UK’s largest retailers of patio heaters, stated that the firm had to put business first and if his company didn’t sell them, others would.
A contrasting trend in the UK has been towards social enterprise, where organizations are formed, not for profit, but to do some good in the community. Two exs are the Big Issue, a magazine to help the homeless and the Eden Project in Cornwall, which recreates plant habitats. Such social enterprises differ from private enterprises in their values, aims and the way they use their profits. Profits are not distributed to shareholders, but go back into the company or are used for the benefit of the community.
Examine the areas of natural environmental concerns that have become prominent in recent years and describe why such concerns are increasing.
Propose and justify five measures that the purchasing department of a national company might adopt to address such environmental concerns.