- GCSE Revision for AQA Business Studies

2.2b Business and the Environment

Environmental Impacts of Business

Businesses can have a very harmful impact on the environment, including:

Creating waste

Illustration of a bottle in the sea

Rubbish from processing, or discarded by customers, can harm the environment


Illustration of a lorry

Lorries delivering goods, staff getting to work, and customers create traffic congestion


Illustration of a megaphone

Machinery, staff, customers, and logistics increase noise


Illustration of a container pouring pollutant

Harmful chemicals may be emitted into the air, water-courses, and soil


There is increasing concern about the damage we are doing to the environment.

Sustainability means not damaging the Earth for future generations, but still managing to provide for our needs environmentally and economically.

Reducing Environmental Impacts

To reduce their impact on the environment, businesses can:

Being Environmentally Friendly


As customers become more aware of environmental impacts, they are increasingly choosing "green" companies


However, changing to environmentally-friendly working can be expensive and difficult to implement.

Test Yourself

Look at each of the following scenarios. How could the business be more environmentally-friendly? What are the pros and cons of your solutions?

A warehouse is using diesel-powered forklift trucks.


Switch to electric-powered forklift trucks to remove emissions.

Pros: no emissions at point of use.

Cons: cost of purchase, sustainability of materials for components (e.g. lithium in batteries).

A factory is using electricity from coal-fired power stations.


Install renewable-energy capture devices, such as solar panels and wind turbines.

Pros: emission-free, may reduce long-term energy costs.

Cons: cost of installation, ongoing maintenance, limited lifespan (solar panels) weather dependant.

A self-assembly furniture manufacturer photocopies product instruction manuals for its customers.


Use electronic product manuals (e.g. PDF) and distribute online.

Pros: reduction in paper usage, cheaper than printing, easy to modify if necessary.

Cons: not as popular with consumers.