Amongst the stories of environmental doom and gloom, it's uplifting to hear that some of the largest companies on the planet are implementing ways in which to reduce their carbon footprint. In the past, some of these companies have been the largest polluters and producers of waste so it's heartening that a shift in consumer consciousness has led to a re-thinking of corporate structure from an environmental perspective.
Where environmentalism was once a side note (perhaps even a joke) it has now become a priority on the agenda of many corporate notepads. Each one of us makes daily choices that include the way we interact with products and what effect these have on the environment. The power of choice is an individuals vote for the kind of future they hope to see (and big companies are starting to see the light).
Some of the most popular businesses out there are determined to set an example and show people that being environmentally friendly is not just a necessity, but also a reward. We've gathered together some of these stories for you to enjoy.
Panasonic create energy-efficient headquarters
For Panasonic, the idea of sustainability has been an important part of their business for some time. This Japanese giant has been supplying the world with electronic products for decades and saw the writing on the wall when it came to their environmental policy.
When Panasonic decided to create a new location in Newark in 2013, the company tried a different approach to the way they design and build new premises. The new Panasonic tower in Newark is LEED certified, meaning that it meets international standards in buildings designed for energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction and improved indoor environmental quality. Besides this, the tower is very close to one of the most used transit nodes in the area, allowing employees a convenient way to get to work rather than driving. It is estimated that this decision by Panasonic keeps 500 cars off the public roads every single day.
While Apple is a company known for bringing innovative technology to the market they're less well-known as a green energy company. Their priority are starting to shift and the business has increased their efforts in making the company more environmentally friendly.
For example, the company will launch a model of a mobile phone that is made entirely out of recycled parts. A notable phrase from their website is' Mining less from the earth. And more from old devices. ' Their goal is to make products using only renewable resources or recycled material. A challenge they face is actually disassembling old products and retrieving the many small pieces contained within. The solution? Daisy, the recycling robot, is a new disassembly robot being trialled by Apple that can take apart 200 iPhones an hour and recover the material from each for use in a new product.
Walmart goes organic
Ten years ago, Walmart's CEO at the time proclaimed the company was on the road to sustainability. He talked about the company using only renewable energy, eliminating waste and selling more organic products. A decade on and the company sat down to have a review on their progress. Happily, in some instances they were further down the road than they had realized.
For instance, a goal for the business was a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 20m metric tons by 2010. They exceeded this and reached a 28.2m metric tons total which is the equivalent of removing 5.9 million cars off the road for a year. Fertiliser use on farms growing Walmart produce was one of the sectors where they made the biggest impact on emissions and was largely due to working with their suppliers.
In the last decade, the company has also contributed to preserving more than one million acres of wildlife habitat.
Ikea knows the value of clean energy
Back in 2015, Ikea announced a plan that was going to improve the sustainability of the company, by not just investing in renewable energy, but also using it for the company's offices and stores. Currently, IKEA stores carry 342,000 solar panels to help contribute to their use of energy.
The furniture conglomerate is also committed to selling only LED bulbs in an initiative to promote green energy to their customers who they believe will ultimately reap the rewards through energy savings. This is part of a strategy to "offer products and solutions that help customers to save money by using less energy and water and reducing waste".
Among other things, IKEA are currently sourcing half of their wood supply from FSC-certified forests, promoting clean water projects and sourcing chemical-free, sustainable cotton purchased from certified farmers.