Environmental impact made by companies is a hot topic in the news these days. Large companies are all getting lumped into the bucket of corporate greed and indifference to their impact on the world. The truth is that many companies do want to do their part to lessen negative effects of their business on the planet and are willing to spend money and time to do so. Here are five major international companies that are trying to make positive environmental strides:
IKEA’s efforts to focus on more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices can be seen at every level of their business. IKEA currently sources close to 50% of their wood from sustainable foresters and 100% of their cotton from farms that meet the Better Cotton standards. At the stores, IKEA has invested in over 700,000 (and growing) solar panels for their power supply and they have plans to start selling solar panels to customers in the UK. IKEA’s goal is to be 100% powered by renewable energy sources and become a net energy exporter by 2020.
You might be a bit surprised to see Nike on this list because the company has not always been focused on earth-friendly practices, but they are making a lot of changes and working hard towards becoming a leader in corporate sustainability. In fact, in 2015 Morgan Stanly listed them as the most sustainable clothing and footwear brand. Nike has worked to become very transparent about their supply chain and production practices.
For consumers that are environmentally conscious when shopping, Nike now provides an app that helps compare the environmental footprint of different fabrics. They have begun using recycled materials in their products and they have redesigned their packaging to reduce waste.
On the world stage, Nike has worked to clean up their factories’ environmental impacts by eliminating chemical discharge and improving energy efficiency. They have also partnered with NASA and other agencies to invest in innovative chemistry that will green the manufacturing process from start to finish.
FTD Flowers is not just committed to the environment; they are working hard to support human rights initiatives as well. To begin with, FTD Flowers sells a number of different certified “FAIR TRADE” bouquets. They also have many other eco-friendly arrangements to choose from.
FTD asks all their suppliers to provide written commitments to human rights and labor standards in their production of fresh flowers. They also ensure that all their suppliers meet the standards of at least one of the following eco-friendly certifications: Fair Trade, VeriFlora, Florverde, USDA Organic, Quality Assurance International and Rainforest Alliance.
FTD itself holds a Veriflora certification and a Fair Trade designation. Both certifications demonstrate FTD’s high level of commitment to both human rights and environmentally friendly practices. Beyond flowers, see this green plants page.
Hershey has taken several steps toward improving their environmental impact. They have pledged to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 50% before the year 2025, on top of the 23% reduction they had already made based on their 2009 baseline. In addition, they are taking steps to ensure 100% of the palm oil they purchase is deforestation-free. They are also working to reduce the emissions of their corporate fleet by changing out as many vehicles as possible for electric vehicles.
On top of these efforts, Hershey is pledging to reach zero-waste-to-landfill status at all Hershey facilities, reduce packaging material by 25 million pounds, up the company-wide recycling rate to 95%, and reduce absolute water use by 95%, all by the year 2025.
Levi Strauss & Co.
Levi Strauss studied the lifecycle of their jeans and quickly realized that 70% of the water used in this lifecycle happened in production of the cotton. Knowing that 95% of their products are cotton based they realized something needed to be done.
That thing was the Better Cotton Initiative. In 2005 Levi co-founded this initiative to fundamentally change how cotton is produced worldwide.
As of 2015 they were sourcing 12 percent of their cotton through BCI and have pledged to source 100% of their cotton from sustainable sources like BCI and recycled cotton to significantly reduce their water footprint.
In a time when it seems like the government and many companies are more concerned with their bottom line than they are with the impact they have on the world; it is so important to remember there are many companies that are making efforts to be better citizens of the planet regardless of what regulations say they do or do not have to do. Not only that, many of these companies are working to encourage other companies to do their part as well. As companies are rewarded for their efforts through the support of their customers other companies will be enticed to follow suit.