More and more companies are finding ways to reduce their environmental impact and use resources more efficiently. And the great thing is, sustainability is a movement that’s spread across pretty much every industry — and for good reason. Unlike bell-bottoms or handlebar mustaches, this is a trend that doesn’t just benefit the earth, but also its inhabitants and even a business’s bottom line.
So what are companies actually doing to become more sustainable and eco-friendly? What does “going green” really look like for a business? It’s the sort of broad term that requires some explanation and examples — so we’ll break it down in bite-sized pieces below.
It may seem like the obvious solution to becoming more eco-friendly, but finding ways to reduce waste is no simple task. One of the world’s biggest software companies made waste reduction a focus by directly tying a portion of their employees’ compensation to recycling initiatives. This way, an employee task force was formed to ensure unwanted materials were recycled instead of ending up as trash. But the buck doesn’t stop there — the same company aims to have 90% of their non-hazardous waste recycled by 2020.
Some companies have looked to the skies to reduce their carbon footprint in the air we breathe. Take one automotive supply chain for example. With better asset tracking, they had less of a need for expedited shipping. That means less costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. It’s sort of a whimsical domino effect, but it’s not the first (or last) time better technology has meant less pollution and better profits.
Using Renewable Energy
Big business comes with big benefits — like the ability to invest in renewable energy. It may take a good amount of time and money, but one well-known technology company achieved 100% renewable energy back in 2017. It’s no surprise when you look at the $2.5 billion this tech giant has invested in renewable energy projects since 2010. But harnessing the power of the sun and wind isn’t the only thing they’re known for. It’s also a highly desirable company to work for because of its fantastic employee benefits and fun-loving work environment. Just another instance where people, the planet and profits are all benefiting together.
Reducing Water Usage
You might be asking, “Isn’t reducing water usage the same as reducing waste?” And that’s a fair point, but we think reducing the amount of water we use deserves a category of its own. This is where the dynamic duo of science and technology comes together once again! One of the biggest beverage companies out there leveraged new efficiency tools, rainwater harvesting and evaporation technology to cut water use by 26% and save $80 million. Who says it doesn’t pay to be green?
Planting New Seeds
It isn’t all about reduction — sometimes addition is the name of the game. Soon, we’ll be launching a “Freight Farm”, also known as a shipping container garden, at Saint Joseph Hospital, where we’ll produce 500-600 heads of lettuce per year to donate and educate others on the benefits and efficiency of hydroponics. It’s just one example of how businesses can think outside the box to be more productive and environmentally conscious. There’s also a whole lot of businesses that plant a tree for each product sold. By partnering with other environmental agencies, they’re able to have a brand-new tree friend pop up whenever you support their company. A happy planet, steady stream of customers and feel-good purchases. Sounds good, right?
Using Sustainable Materials
Eco-friendly executions can also come in the form of really beautiful packaging. Companies from all industries have been known to play around with sustainable materials to package their products. From bamboo and secondhand wood to recycled (and recyclable) plastics, all sorts of companies take pride in their sleek and environmentally conscious packages.
Bear in mind, this is by no means a comprehensive and encyclopedic resource for sustainable business practices. But hopefully it’s a good way to start thinking about how businesses can really make an impact with a little ingenuity and elbow grease. As Kermit says, “It ain’t easy being green,” but it sure is worth the effort.