PESTLE Analysis: Environmental Factors Affecting Business

PESTLE Analysis: Environmental Factors Affecting Business

The PESTLE analysis is a strategic tool used to gain information and insight into the external factors that may affect a business. It is an extension of the PEST analysis, which stands for political, economic, social, and technological factors. This acronym further expands by adding legal and environmental considerations. As part of this process, businesses like to gain insight into various environmental factors to identify potential opportunities and risks that could shape their strategies. 

The environmental analysis looks at the physical environment as well as climate change policies or directives from governmental entities, energy availability or related pricing trends (e.g., scarcity of oil could create rising gas prices), animal-related laws impacting specific product categories, etc.

All these variables can have an immense impact on both operations and other vital aspects like customer willingness to buy a product or employee efficiency. As such, it is paramount that business owners consider the implications associated with environmental forces when making important strategic decisions — failure to do so could prove disastrous for both short-term profitability goals and sustainability initiatives if not managed properly.

Environmental Factors in Business

  • Climate
  • Climate change
  • Weather
  • Pollution
  • Availability of non-renewable goods


Weather can have a significant impact on businesses due to the potential damages it might cause. Natural disasters such as flooding, hurricanes, and tornadoes can all disrupt business operations, or even damage valuable assets. Businesses that operate outdoors, like construction companies or landscaping services, are particularly vulnerable to weather-related disruptions.

Even for businesses with indoor operations like supermarkets and retail stores, extreme weather conditions such as heat waves or blizzards can affect customer behavior by decreasing the number of people coming into the premises, thus reducing sales revenue. In addition, severe weather affects transportation networks, which can be detrimental to businesses reliant on the movement of goods and materials within a certain timeframe.

Climate change

Climate change refers to any significant long-term shift in global weather patterns or temperatures caused by human activities, such as burning fossil fuels. This issue affects businesses in a variety of ways and has both short-term consequences and implications for future planning. 

In the short term, climate change can lead to extreme weather events like droughts, floods, hurricanes, and heat waves. These events can cause physical damage to infrastructure and supply chains, as well as lead to the loss of life. They also often require an emergency response from businesses, including those tasked with setting up shelters or delivering relief supplies. Companies must also factor increased energy costs due to extreme weather into their budgets if temperatures become abnormally high or cold for extended periods in certain regions. 

The long-term effects of climate change also concern for business owners. Rising sea levels due to ice cap melting could lead to devastating flooding in coastal cities where many industries are based; likewise, rising temperatures could cause reductions in agricultural production yields, leading to food shortages and economic disruption.

Businesses must plan for these scenarios by ensuring adequate insurance coverage against climate-related risks and taking steps to reduce their carbon footprints through more sustainable practices like sourcing green energy or investing in renewable technologies like solar power instead of relying on nonrenewable resources like oil or gas, which contribute significantly more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere (CO2). 

Governments have set regulations on industry’s carbon emissions to manage global warming, meaning businesses require compliance solutions that satisfy both local laws and cost-effectiveness to not restrain growth. Companies should evaluate current legislation impacting them and keep pace with updates from international governing entities such as the UNFCCC, which provide guidance for tackling climate-related matters within specific sectors or industries (e.g., shipping).

By doing this, a business may gain an advantage over competitors who fail to act according to accepted standards laid out by global organizations when it comes to keeping environmental impact low without sacrificing operational efficiency at the same time, thereby giving themselves a better position within the market, which will ultimately benefit bottom line profits over the long run.


Pollution can have direct and indirect impacts on business operations, such as negative impacts on operations and costs or positive impacts from investments in pollution prevention or compliance with local regulations. 

When it comes to pollution, businesses must consider the physical environment (such as air and water) and the information environment (data about environmental performance). Different types of pollution can affect businesses. Air pollutants can cause health problems for workers and customers if not properly managed; some may damage buildings and equipment.

Water pollutants may contaminate groundwater supplies used for drinking, production processes, or other uses. Noise pollution can result in employee fatigue, decreased productivity, and hearing loss; certain types of noise may also impact customer perceptions of a business’s facilities. Pollution related to hazardous waste is another factor that companies should take into account when managing their operations: Chemicals produced during manufacturing activities may have negative effects on human health or wildlife if not properly disposed of according to local laws. 

Businesses must be familiar with the legal requirements related to pollution control and management in their jurisdiction, such as emissions permits, effluent standards, and technology requirements for industry-specific processes like chemical processing plants that create wastewater discharges that need treatment prior to release into public water sources, and zoning restrictions limiting certain types of manufacturing activities.

Companies should also invest resources in renewable energy technologies such as wind turbines, solar panels, and geothermal plants to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and protect natural habitats, ecosystems, agricultural lands, etc. Pollution prevention initiatives that include modified raw material usage, better process designs, energy efficiency measures, and waste minimization initiatives can provide additional benefits for the company in terms of market access and brand recognition.

How some of these factors can affect businesses

Availability of certain renewable goods

Renewable goods, such as solar or wind energy, have the potential to greatly reduce costs for businesses that actively use them, as they can be accessed without paying any kind of fee and may even offer tax credits if properly used. If renewable goods are available in plentiful quantities, then this could lead to lower prices, which will obviously be beneficial to businesses. 

On the other hand, a shortage of renewable goods could cause prices to rise dramatically. This would affect businesses negatively, as they may not be willing or able to pay higher rates for using renewables. 

In addition to potentially changing market prices related to the cost of goods available on the market, the availability of renewable goods also affects regulations related to their use and production.

For example, increasing access to and use of renewable energies might result in stricter regulations regarding emissions from non-renewable sources, something that could make it more difficult for specific industries (such as transportation) or businesses (such as factory owners) to operate with such fuels or goods.

Similarly, certain incentives from governments targeting increased usage or production of renewable goods may help push companies towards greener initiatives or investments in clean technology projects, something that would result in long-term benefits but short-term changes due to the financial outlays required by these measures.

Existence of certain biological species

The existence of certain biological species can have a significant impact on businesses, especially those in the food production industry. For example, if climate change were to make cows and goats extinct, it would be devastating for businesses in the dairy industry. Without access to these animals’ milk, companies would need to look elsewhere for their supplies or find alternative methods of producing products normally reliant on cow or goat milk. 

In addition, many businesses rely on particular species’ materials as raw ingredients. If such species were to become endangered due to environmental concerns, then companies relying on them could face severe disruption as they search for substitutes or explore new supply chains. This is especially true when it comes to leather goods manufacturers, which use animal hides coming from specific areas to have a consistent quality product. 

On a larger scale, the presence (or absence) of specific wildlife populations can lead to ecological changes that impact the economy at large. If certain migratory birds stop visiting an area due to habitat destruction, this could mean fewer eco-tourists come to visit, resulting in a lower influx of money into local communities near bird reserves and other related attractions. 

Changing patterns in biodiversity can also affect businesses indirectly through government regulations and policy initiatives; e.g., if sea turtle populations are dwindling due to some pollution incident, such as an oil spill, then governments might implement legislation that restricts activities offshore to protect the turtles and their habitats, thus resulting in businesses having compliance issues with local laws or even facing fines or shutdowns should they fail to abide by any implemented regulations.

Environment-related laws

Environment-related laws are regulations that are put in place to ensure that businesses operate in an environmentally responsible manner. These laws help protect the environment, both for current and future generations, by ensuring that businesses adhere to environmental standards. By requiring businesses to meet specific environmental standards and comply with relevant regulations, these laws promote sustainability and help safeguard against potential ecological risks that may arise from business operations. 

The scope of environment-related laws can vary depending on the jurisdiction where a business is located, but some key laws tend to be common across multiple regions. Some of these include regulations related to air quality, water pollution, hazardous waste disposal, land restoration after development activities have been completed, and energy efficiency requirements for certain types of machinery or equipment used in production processes. 

  • Air Quality Laws: Air quality legislation seeks to reduce or limit emissions into the atmosphere from sources such as factories, vehicles, and other sources of pollution. Such legislation typically sets maximum limits on the total allowable emissions, along with requirements for monitoring and reporting emissions data regularly. By helping to prevent excessive levels of pollution in the atmosphere due to industrial activity or transportation-related activities (e.g., burning fossil fuels), air quality legislation helps preserve clean air for everyone’s benefit now and into the future;
  • Water Pollution Laws: Water pollution laws are designed to ensure that any water discharged from a facility does not exceed permissible levels set out by regulators when it comes to pollutants such as metals, chemicals, or other contaminants being introduced into nearby bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, or groundwater.

Typically, this includes setting the maximum levels of pollutants allowed in any effluent discharge, which must be monitored regularly by companies discharging wastewater into local systems throughout their operations. Water pollution laws also aim to limit incidental runoff from agricultural activities, where fertilizers or other soil enhancers may reach nearby waterways without prior filtering or treatment processes being applied first. 

Examples of environmental factors affecting business

Environmental Factors Affecting Coca-Cola

Environmental factors can have a significant impact on the success of companies, particularly those that operate on a global scale, like Coca-Cola. For them to remain competitive and operational, they need to have an active role in managing their environmental performance.

This includes understanding the different types of environmental issues that may affect their operations, as well as implementing strategies to mitigate potential impacts. Here are some of the environmental factors affecting Coca-Cola’s presence in the international market

  • Climate Change: As one of the world’s largest producers and consumers of energy, Coca-Cola is particularly vulnerable to climate change effects such as rising temperatures, extreme weather events, and water scarcity. To combat this issue, they have implemented initiatives such as water conservation efforts in their production methods, renewable energy sources, reducing travel emissions, and engaging with external stakeholders to collaborate on new solutions;
  • Resource Sustainability: The availability and cost of resources used in producing goods have become increasingly important factors for many companies globally. For example, Coca-Cola uses large amounts of fresh water in its beverage production process, which must be replenished regularly from local sources or purchased elsewhere, impacting both resource sustainability (in terms of extraction limits) and operating costs (through increased transportation costs). To minimize these impacts, they focus on reducing non-renewable ingredients by substituting them with more sustainable options.

Environmental Factors Affecting the UAE

The UAE’s climate — due to its hot, arid region — can greatly impact how businesses operate there. The summer months alone can generate temperatures as high as 50 °C (122 °F), and most of the region receives very little rainfall, with an average annual precipitation rate of 140 mm/year. Consequently, the productivity of workers might be reduced due to extreme heat conditions that can make physical labor outside challenging or even dangerous, thus requiring extra safety precautions from employers.

Given its proximity to coastal areas, trade between the Emirates by sea appears more promising than in landlocked Middle Eastern nations due to their weaker infrastructure networks (e.g., roads).

This further reinforces the economic stability of nearby seaside cities such as Dubai or Abu Dhabi through import/export activities, resulting in an increase in investment opportunities; however, this necessitates strict maritime safety regulations to ensure human safety and prevent environmental catastrophes from ships transporting hazardous materials spilling them into nearby oceanic waters or emitting pollutants that could cause irreversible damage to marine life habitats if left unregulated by organizations like UNEP.


Environmental factors are an increasingly important concern in business. The PESTLE analysis framework can help organizations identify and respond to the most pressing environmental issues impacting their businesses.

By understanding the political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental forces at play in the environment of a business, companies can anticipate potential disruptions and plan for long-term success. Companies must also be aware of how their operations may affect the environment by engaging in risk assessments to determine any potential liabilities related to sustainability issues. By taking proactive steps toward addressing these challenges now, companies can ensure they remain competitive while also doing their part to protect the planet.



Want Receive new Business Model Analysis direct on your inbox? Subscribe now and don't miss any new posts!