A Case Study Of Centrica

Introduction

The concept of sustainable development has become an integral part of industrial and organisational practice; whereby the environmental concerns are granted consideration alongside the pursuit of man to develop and meet the daily needs. The conception of the concept has continued motivated production processes towards the utilisation of renewable rather than finite resources, minimisation and alleviation of toxic pollutants which at the end of the day contribute to the contemporary challenges facing the globe such as climate change, pollution, species’ extinction and environmental degradation (Dincer, and Rosen, 2012). The United Kingdom’s Centrica chips in as one of the production institutions dealing with the supply of energy and energy-related services to more than twenty-eight million people in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Northern America; and which this essay intends to explore concerning her sustainability issues and challenges .

Centrica is administered from Berkshire where her headquarter is based; and for a long time has continued to serve the people with both electricity and gas (energy and power) (Welford, 2016). The company operates as an integrated energy company supplying electricity and gas to industrial customers, businesses, residents; alongside providing repair, and installation and maintenance services for domestic kitchen appliances, heating, gas appliances, plumbing, air conditioning equipment, solar panels installation and water heaters (Griggs et al., 2013).

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The company indulges in emnvironmental-friendly and sustainable processes; which in turn have accorded it resounding famme not only in Europe, Asia and America; but also Africa which has seen it globalise. It is involved in trading, procurement, energy optimisation and provision of energy efficient technologies, with an aim to cut short dependencies on non-renewable sources of energy. Additionally, the corporation produces and refines oil and gas, and develops new oil fields to maintain reserves in North America and Europe. The company has been struggling to function within the limits of sustainability, and her main competitors include Scottish and Southern Energy, RWE npower, EDF Energy and IBERDROLA SA (Foxon, 2013).

Key Environmental Impacts and Sustainability Challenges

Operating within the intrigues of energy and power, Centrica, just like most companies within that domain, utilises the resources extracted from the environment. Sustainability takes into cognisance the interrelationship amongst environmental, economic and social progress; and human wellbeing (Thomas, 2016). Centrica has accepted the moral obligation towards the globe’s ecological crises, orienting the company’s constructs on the environmental management systems such as ISO 14001 which control the company and ensuure quality in both soocial and environmental realms (Kokal, and Al-Kaabi, 2010).

The Centrica’s industrial production and refinement of oil are subject to disturbances on and beneath the surface of the earth which consequently alter the isocracy and authentic beauty of nature. There is an elemental loss of biodiversity sharing life along the surface of oil fields, and upon when clearing and mining take place they lose their lives directly or through habitat destruction. Endemic organisms may become extinct, with others migrating to new ecosystems, with others changing their genetic constituents in pursuit to survive the induced disturbances.

Inderwildi and King, (2012) established that four of the nine planetary boundaries had been transressed and surpassed. The scholars found out that climate change, land-system change, biosphere integrity boundaries and biogeochemical cycles allterations; which are core boundaries have been exceeded due to overreliance on fossil fuel and due to other anthropogenic activities. The impacts of transgressing the planetary boundaries are capable of driving the biosphere into the hostile and inhabitable state while interfering with men’s strive to combat poverty, and even deteriorate the living standards of the world’s best economies (Silvestre, 2015). The figure below show the nine planetary boundaries which are susceptible to transgression by anthropogenism.

Drilling land or sea for oil is disruptive to the ecological state of balance and can alter species’ habitats. Besides, the pipes to collect oil, stations, roads and other accessory infrastructure fundamental in oil extraction compromise the quality of existing habitats (Aaron, 2012). The disturbances can still occur in the oceans when seismic technologies are applied based on the proposition that seismic noise can alter the healthy behaviours of whales, to the extent of death which can affect the fragile web of, marine ecosystem.

Accidents while transporting oil may happen, leading to spills on roads, or seas. The oil spills constitute devastating impacts, such as habitat destruction, and death of organisms, disruption of food sources, and poisoning. Deep-sea drilling of oil can result in leakages or spills that will spew the oil into the large water (Mol, 2010).

Centrica has been facing sustainability challenges such as population pressures, which drastically increases the demand for her products and services. The increase in population leads to an increasing in demand for oil, electricity and related services, which indirectly demand more from the environment. Ozone depletion as a result of greenhouse gases such as carbon (1V) oxide and sulphur dioxide from petroleum products has not only led to penetration of harmful X-rays, but has also induced acid rains which fall on existing forests and seas (Bolden, and O’Regan, 2016).

Human activities have been termed as greatest drivers of climate change, global warming, marine acidification and ozone depletion. As human beings dilate the earth system beyond planetary boundaries, and into risk-susceptible zones, the aquatic ecosystems are likely to shift due to eutrophication, acidification or climate change (Thomas, 2009). Sustainable development intends to present measures to curb the escalation of these challenges amidst others and provide for alternative mitigation measures. Centrica has continually championed for the application of greener sources of energy such as solar, wind and biogas. The company’s Maturity Model is integrated on her constant struggle to ensure environmental impacts are lessened in her production and supply of oil and electricity services (Hague, 2003).

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Conclusion

Sustainable development advocates for a system in which human development goes hand in hand with environmental, social and economic wellbeing. The current world is characterized by numerous challenges such as global warming, climate change, marine acidification, pollution of all kind, extinction of species and environmental degradation. These challenges are significantly caused by industrial processes and practices, which Centrica is one of the perpetrators. Environmental awareness in such a dispensation where the planet is losing her authentic beauty and regeneration capacity becomes an idea whose time has come (Elliott, 2012).

References

  • Aaron, K.K., 2012. New corporate social responsibility models for oil companies in Nigeria’s delta region: What challenges for sustainability?. Progress in Development Studies, 12(4), pp.259-273.
  • Bolden, R. and O’Regan, N., 2016. Digital disruption and the future of leadership: An interview with Rick Haythornthwaite, Chairman of Centrica and MasterCard. Journal of Management Inquiry, 25(4), pp.438-446.
  • Dincer, I. and Rosen, M.A., 2012. Exergy: energy, environment and sustainable development. Newnes.
  • Elliott, J.A., 2012. An introduction to sustainable development. Routledge.
  • Foxon, T.J., 2013. Transition pathways for a UK low carbon electricity future. Energy Policy, 52, pp.10-24.
  • Griggs, D., Stafford-Smith, M., Gaffney, O., Rockström, J., Öhman, M.C., Shyamsundar, P., Steffen, W., Glaser, G., Kanie, N. and Noble, I., 2013. Policy: Sustainable development goals for people and planet. Nature, 495(7441), p.305.
  • Hague, J., 2003. Centrica uses skills management from John Matchett Limited. Industrial and commercial training, 35(4), pp.148-150.
  • Inderwildi, O. and King, D. eds., 2012. Energy, transport, & the environment: addressing the sustainable mobility paradigm. Springer Science & Business Media.
  • Kokal, S. and Al-Kaabi, A., 2010. Enhanced oil recovery: challenges & opportunities. World Petroleum Council: Official Publication, 64.
  • Mol, A.P., 2010. Environmental authorities and biofuel controversies. Environmental politics, 19(1), pp.61-79.
  • Robbins, P.T., 2010. Greening the corporation: management strategy and the environmental challenge. Routledge.
  • Silvestre, B.S., 2015. Sustainable supply chain management in emerging economies: Environmental turbulence, institutional voids and sustainability trajectories. International Journal of Production Economics, 167, pp.156-169.
  • Thomas, S., 2009. An analysis of the company developments and corporate policies in the European energy sector. European Federation of Public Service Unions and the Social Development Agency, doc. Accessed, 1, p.2011.
  • Thomas, S., 2016. A perspective on the rise and fall of the energy regulator in Britain. Utilities Policy, 39, pp.41-49.
  • Welford, R., 2016. Corporate environmental management 1: systems and strategies. Routledge.

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