Four giant companies are setting sustainable examples that businesses are encouraged to learn from
- 17 Nov 2023
In today's modern age, where climate change, deforestation, drought, natural resource depletion, and other environmental topics are at the order of the day, no business can escape the need to develop sustainable solutions to secure their spot as players in the market. Customers become increasingly less permissible with companies that place their profits over the health of the customer and nature, meaning that the only way to survive and not see their customer engagement levels drop is to deliver in this regard.
Some of the largest companies worldwide have long accepted the challenge of reshaping their companies to adhere to more sustainable practices. Here are four of the leading players who are constantly raising the bar and setting positive examples that you can look at to draw inspiration for your business' future sustainability-oriented projects.
As the largest retailer worldwide, encompassing 10,490 stores located across 24 countries and a revenue of $600.9 billion as of 2022, Walmart is among the most critical players on the sustainable scene. Almost anything the corporation says and does further impacts all the other participants in the sector or chain and beyond. For the massive responsibility on the company's shoulders, it stands to reason that it cannot fool around and treat sustainability lightly. As a subject that can destroy or catapult a company to the summit of fame since customers are more and more oriented towards eco-friendly companies that protect the environment, employees, customers, and everything they interact with, it's no surprise that Walmart acted in this regard and provided the business world with some good to-follow examples.
When it comes to retail stores, being the ones that generate some of the highest amounts of CO2 and wearing the stigma as one of the most damaging constructions due to the carbon footprint emitted, there's no other way around than gradually review and bring changes to all the internal or external processes, whether you look at the supply chain management or the construction of the building. Walmart has claimed that the company's climate goal is to slash emissions to zero by the end of the decade, but the list of implementations is more than kilometric. From the company's outlined intentions, however, a business can conclude that sustainability goes beyond their own operations and to the companies they're partnering with. Building construction releases tremendous emissions, so looking into the offerings of important sustainable players in the industry should be the first step in deciding what collaborator will be chosen for the project's unfolding. The same principle applies to any area where partnerships need to be closed. Even instances when a building project needs to move a mound of concrete from one place to another have a huge impact on the environment’s health since machines and transportation generate lots of carbon emissions. But environmentally-conscious businesses should know that there’s a barrowing service in almost every city that places sustainability high on their list of concerns, which employers can use to minimize their carbon footprint.
Pretty anyone has heard about or come across bath bombs, a trend seen everywhere in the past decade. However, not many know that this bath art is primarily linked with Lush, a skincare and cosmetics company that has been highly regarded for its exemplary behaviour regarding its involvement in climate change issues over the years. From creating cruelty-free products that advocate for ingredient testing to be done through high-tech approaches such as in vitro testing to choosing ethical and reliable sourcing, Lush has secured its leading place as a sustainable adherent in the niche. The company has long been involved in projects to raise awareness for different ecological and social issues, with the specific campaign "Naked" standing out as one of the most unique and effective undertakings done so far. According to 81% of participants in a survey conducted this year, the company is sustainable due to its use of eco-friendly packaging, availability of refillable items, and commitment to cruelty-free practices.
The Naked campaign aimed at encouraging customers to purchase items packaged in sustainable ways by having staff wear aprons on the job.
Ben & Jerry's
Worth more than $1 billion as of 2023, the American yoghurt and ice cream company Ben & Jerry's has produced over 350,000 pints of ice cream daily since 1985, ranks among the market players with the largest share of responsibility when it comes to interacting with the environment. According to the company's statements, the manufacturing process makes up 1% of the overall GHG emissions, with the transportation of the end product from the factory to the stores representing another 7%. Considering that a single pint generates around 3.4 pounds of CO2e, the corporation's sustainable objectives should start from the in-factory processes.
Ben & Jerry's aims to create packaging that is entirely recyclable, reusable, compostable, and free of petroleum-based plastic by the middle of the decade. Furthermore, the facilities owned by the company are planned to run on 100% renewable energy by the same period. These efforts come in the light of the recently launched initiative of promoting non-diary ice cream and emphasising the importance of tackling climate change under the name of "Save Our Swirled". Numerous non-diary desserts are produced, such as chocolate sandwich cookies, to support raising awareness on climate change and responding to the demand of eco-conscious consumers. In this regard, the giant is proactively engaged in providing better farming working conditions and wiping out slavery in chocolate supply chains.
The massive shoe manufacturer Nike has been a part of the sustainable fashion movement for a long time, and their portfolio of projects is anything but shoddy. The company's name rings a bell to anyone hearing it, whether it's known for its staple trainers or sports sponsorships. Like other forward-looking companies, Nike has also set 2025 as the deadline for completing a series of eco-oriented initiatives. For instance, by initiating the "Move to Zero" project and basing its collection on pieces made with sustainable materials, the company is closer to the summit of eco-friendliness than ever.
To get a clearer picture of where Nike stands in its sustainable efforts, let's take a look at the materials initiatives conducted to help reach the ambitious goals proposed:
Nike Air – 2020 marked the year that the company started using only facilities fuelled by entirely renewable energy in North America, as well as creating soles from 50% recycled manufacturing waste
Nike Flyleather – developing shoes using 50% recycled leather fibres that hold the characteristics of virgin leather
Cushioning systems – 90% of the waste generated by creating Air soles is further reused for innovative cushioning systems
Nike Flyknit – utilising materials derived from recycled plastic bottles to create Flyknit shoe uppers.
The four heavyweights above are not the only players providing good examples
Other examples of sustainable practices can be driven from the initiatives conducted by heavyweights like Microsoft, PepsiCO, Allbirds, Burberry, and Nestle, as well as others, so keep a keen eye on the giants' moves to come up with strategies that actually deliver.