Since the economic explosion during the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s, American businesses have maintained a laser focus on economic growth and maximizing profits. It has only been within the past decade that global businesses and small companies alike have, slowly but surely, began a push towards a greener future. Here are our picks for 5 global companies that are focused on sustainability:
The roots of IKEA’s sustainability practices run deep. The household furniture company sources half of its wood from sustainable foresters and ALL cotton abides by the “Better Cotton Standard” - Meaning that 100% comes from cotton producers that use less water and fewer chemicals. They are continually searching for better practices to put in place to make their company more sustainable.
As a business in the apparel and outdoor industry, Patagonia understands that a whopping 97% of their carbon emissions are derived from the supply chain (from purchasing raw materials to shipping products to customers). Patagonia has set a goal to become carbon-neutral in 2025, with its main focus on the supply chain. In addition to lowering carbon emissions, Patagonia also works to use recycled goods. According to Patagonia, they will be using nearly 70% of recycled materials in 2019. They continue to strive to find more sustainable solutions.
- Seventh Generation
The plant-based cleaning company, Seventh Generation, was created over 30 years ago when a handful of Vermont entrepreneurs began to take action against pollution from man-made chemicals and waste. Focused on sustainability and earth-friendly products, Seventh Generation embraces recycled materials and plant-based ingredients in their cleaning materials. Although they are not a zero-carbon company, Seventh Generation is very active in fighting climate change and increasing transparency on ingredients used in consumer goods.
Although this may come as a bit of a surprise, Adobe (the IT and app developing company) has taken monumental strides towards sustainability in every aspect of their business. However, due to the nature of their digital products, most of their positive impact comes from making changes in the workspace. In 2014, Adobe became one of the first companies to adopt the U.S Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). In fact, 76% of Adobe buildings are now LEED Certified, meaning a large majority of their workspaces have been certified as some of the most environmentally sound buildings in the world. They are committed to offering clean air, natural light, and overall amazing work experience for their employees, as well as reducing their carbon footprint.
5) New Belgium Brewing
Although excess waste can be seen as a necessary evil in the food and beverage industry, New Belgium Brewing aims to set a new standard of waste diversion. This 100% employee-owned, Fort-Collins, Colorado company has managed to reuse 99.9% of their materials. Although most brewers have a high average diversion rate of 82%, New Belgium Brewing has found ways to stand out significantly. Earning a certification from LEED, the brewers continually work to recycle, reuse, or eliminate waste. After installing solar panels in 2014, New Belgium is now able to create electricity from waste products. Accounting for 8% of total renewable energy, there is a lot of room for improvement, which they strive for on a daily basis.
It is important to support businesses that give back. While some corporations may promote sustainability, their practices don't always follow suit. Remember to do some research about the products you are buying and vote with your wallet. An action as simple as purchasing from a ‘green’ business can have a great impact on the future of business practices, sustainability, and our planet!