There are many ways in which businesses can affect the greater environment in which they operate. The ways in which businesses can do so depend largely on which aspect of the environment we are looking at.
For example, a business or group of businesses can have a significant impact on the legal environment through lobbying and other similar activities. Businesses know that the laws and regulations created by governments can have a major impact on their operations. Therefore, they spend large amounts of resources on lobbying as a way to try to impact the laws that are made. This lobbying, then, can have an effect on the sorts of laws that make up the overall legal environment.
Businesses can also have an impact on their social or cultural environment. For example, businesses that are willing to extend spousal benefits to same-sex partners of their employees are changing the social and cultural environment in which they work. As another example, many businesses try to change the social and cultural environment by promoting “green” practices. By promoting these practices, they might help to change the social and cultural environment and create more demand for green products.
In these ways and many others, businesses can have an impact on the macroenvironment in which they exist.