Sustainability has become a major global trend for consumers and businesses alike. It’s become a key concern for consumers, so much so that many won’t do business with companies that don’t practice some level of corporate social responsibility. Businesses have noticed these concerns around their environmental impact and an increasing number of them have shifted their values, making sustainability top of mind.
From small businesses to Fortune 500s, companies of all sizes have joined this movement. Let’s look into how some well-known brands have incorporated sustainability into their daily practices, doing their part to minimize their carbon footprint and encouraging others to make sustainability a focus.
1. Google’s Commitment to Sustainability
Google has been a carbon-neutral company since 2007 and sustainability has been a core value since its beginnings. Google continues to remain committed to its sustainability efforts and operates energy-efficient data centers and advocates for energy conservation. Google’s data centers provide twice the energy efficiency of traditional data centers. These data centers power products including Gmail and Search for billions worldwide.
In 2017 Google became the first company of its size to match its annual electric consumption with renewable energy, making them the world’s biggest corporate buyer of renewable energy.
The brand has invested billions in renewable energy projects such as tracking illegal fishing and mapping forest loss and is working toward using carbon-free energy in its operations 24/7.
By 2022, Google plans to include recycled materials in all of its products. Google continues to be transparent about its environmental efforts in its annual environmental reports.
2. SC Johnson’s Pledge to Eliminate Plastic Waste
SC Johnson, a household product manufacturer, is aiming to lessen the impact its products have on the environment. It’s done this with efforts such as replacing the use of coal with natural gas and removing harmful ingredients from its products.
The brand is also doing its part to improve the plastic waste crisis—SC Johnson has pledged to make all of its plastic packaging recyclable, compostable, or reusable by the year 2025 and is on track to meet this goal.
So far it’s removed almost 2 million kilograms of plastic from its products’ primary packaging and has partnered with Plastic Bank to create 9 Indonesian recycling centers. These centers help communities manage plastic waste in the oceans.
SC Johnson makes its sustainability reports public, to provide transparency into its efforts.
3. Patagonia Is on a Mission to Save the Planet
As one of the most sustainable outdoor clothing brands, Patagonia was built on sustainable practices by a founder who wanted to attract like-minded people. The brand was a pioneer in sustainability, in 1986 committing either 10% of profits or 1% of sales to environmental activism—whichever amount was larger.
Patagonia continues to carry out its mission for providing environmentally-friendly products and promoting a sustainable way of life. This starts from within and all employees are hired to abide by its core values and its commitment to save the planet.
Its efforts have drawn millions to the brand, by embracing issues that buyers continue to be passionate about.
Patagonia hosts workshops to demonstrate how consumers can repair their own clothing, it encourages sustainable travel and the brand plans to be carbon neutral by the year 2025. Some of these workshops are hosted on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, to encourage buyers to celebrate what they already own and reduce waste. Even if you’re not a fan of the brand, you have to admit that’s pretty cool.
4. Ørsted Becomes the World’s Most Sustainable Company
Renewable energy provider, Ørsted, went from being a coal-intensive facility to evolving into an almost wholly renewable power provider. This year it was named the world’s most sustainable company by the Corporate Knights research firm.
The Denmark-based company transformed from using fossil fuels as the core of its business to becoming a purely renewable energy company—all within a decade. Ørsted has shown that sustainable practices are achievable within any organization that is willing to work for it.
The company has reduced its carbon emissions by more than 80% and plans to be coal-free by 2023 and carbon neutral by 2025.
5. Cisco Minimizes Its Environmental Impact Throughout its Business and Supply Chain
Cisco aims to preserve natural resources and biodiversity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and design products with minimal waste. To encourage sustainability in the connected workplace, the company deployed an office design that would encourage collaboration and productivity for employees while reducing material and equipment consumption.
The company’s efforts are working. Cisco’s Connected Workplace has resulted in lowering greenhouse gas emissions, reduced office and electronic waste, and better utilization of space in the workplace.
In 2019 the company saw a 49% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and 83% of its energy was from renewable sources.
More Companies Are Recognizing the Importance of Sustainability and Taking Action
As consumers and businesses become more aware of the impact their behavior has on the environment, sustainability continues to become a critical aspect of any business. These efforts cannot be static…for true sustainability brands must constantly strive toward improving their products and processes, to further lessen their impact on the environment.
Sustainability efforts are largely self-guided and companies are not required to show accountability. However, the companies above are transparent in their efforts and show the results of aligning vision with action. They work constantly to improve their products and achieve their goals.
These brands have set the bar for others and are showing the importance of making sustainability the foundation of a business’s core values.
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