It’s quite common for people to think of the biggest companies in the world as heartless, mindless, soulless corporations that couldn’t care less about the environment. We read in the news of companies dumping their waste inappropriately, using unsustainable material sources and unscrupulous practices.
However, there are a number of big names in the world that are taking steps to ensure that they are causing as little disruption to the environment as possible. There are companies out there that take pride in the environment, their local area and futures of the families that they support.
Here are just a few of those companies and just a few of the ways that they are making a difference:
Lush is a company close to our hearts. Founded on our hometown, Lush’s environmental policy is rich and extensive but, at its heart is a very nice phrase: “we think fields of trees make our lives much richer than oil fields”. Lush only uses almond and olive oil in place of mineral oil and this notion is carried throughout their work practices.
50% of Lush’s products can be taken home without a single bit of packaging and the packaging for the rest consists of 90% recycled materials (creeping steadily towards 100%). Lush avoids using over 450,000litres of water a year by producing shampoo in ‘bars’ instead of in bottles, saving on both water and packaging. Lush even goes as far as to ensure that where they get their energy doesn’t support fracking companies.
Overall, Lush operates in an industry synonymous with chemicals, environmental damage and animal testing, but is carving its own path of renewable, responsible products.
Founded in Sweden, 1943, IKEA has become synonymous with forward thinking design and innovation. These sentiments are carried forward into IKEA’s environmental policy, through all aspects of the business.
One of the most obvious ways that IKEA helps the environment is by sourcing its wood from renewable and responsibly managed forests and even goes as far as to eliminate wood pallets in the majority of their distribution networks (in favour of the OptiLedge system).
However, IKEA does more than just furniture and it does it with environmental responsibility to boot. IKEA only sell low-energy LED light bulbs in their stores (using 85% less power than conventional bulbs). IKEA’s seafood is responsibly sourced, conforming to Aquaculture Stewardship Council and Marine Stewardship Council standards. Ikea is even committed to producing as much energy as it consumes in the next few years.
IBM has been working on its green credentials since 1971 with the introduction of its Protecting The Environment policy. Since then, IBM has cut its electricity consumption by 5.1 billion KWh (between 1990 and 2000), enough to power a whole town.
In 2005, IBM was recognised as one of the Top 20 Best Workplaces for Commuters by the US Environmental Protection Agency for providing employees with excellent commuter benefits to reduce traffic and air pollution.
IBM has an in depth and committed plan towards substantially reducing its environmental impact in the coming years, including utilising internal facilities to develop bespoke solutions and training programs to educate staff about the environment and waste management.
Not only is IBM doing its absolute best to reduce the environmental impact of its technologies, its educating employees on responsible environmental practices – passing on essential knowledge to employees, their families and future generation.
BT might not seem like a company that has a big impact on the environment but if you look at the size of the company, the services and infrastructure in place and the amount of energy needed, there’s a pretty big impact being made.
In Jan 2017, BT was recognised by the CDP as being in the top 1% of corporations for their actions in reducing emissions and lower climate-related risks in the supply chain in the past year.
For the past 7 years running, BT has reduced its energy usage and has recently agreed a 4 year deal to supply all their UK electricity from renewable sources. BT even has an in house environmental management system that provides a framework for the management and reporting of environmental performance.
Nike uses a huge range of manufacturing methods and materials, which traditionally would be detrimental to the environment. However since 1993, Nike has been committed to good environmental practices and producing products that benefit both the environment and the community.
Since 2008, through the use of renewable solar energy, Nike has cut its energy emissions by 50% per unit. In the financial year of 2015 alone, Nike transformed 24,500 tonnes of factory scrap into premium materials for use in Nike products.
Nike is committed understanding, reducing and improving the environmental impact of their business. They have reduced water consumption by over 40% per unit of footwear they manufacture.
Now, none of these companies are infallible, they will still produce pollution and harm the environment in some form or another, just as you do in your everyday lives. However, these companies are making strides towards protecting our planet and maintaining their level of quality without sacrificing the environment for it.
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