As Kermit once said: “It ain’t easy being green.”
Your company might be considering corporate sustainability initiatives but wondering just how hard it is to implement meaningful change in your organization. It can be helpful to have examples of corporate sustainability initiatives to look to for inspiration.
What does corporate sustainability look like?
Corporate sustainability goes beyond the buzzwords and drives changes to lessen the impact of your business on the planet. Some companies focus on environmental sustainability initiatives, while others have sustainability goals for health, poverty, education, and equal access to resources.
Regardless of your company’s goals, here are 12 examples of corporate sustainability initiatives from 2020 to get you started.
1. Chr. Hansen Holding
You may not recognize the name, but Chr. Hansen Holding has their metaphorical fingers in nearly every bite of food you take or drink you sip.
Their corporate sustainability initiatives are focused on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and are centered on improved sustainability around food yields, reducing food waste, and eliminating antibiotics in animal production.
2. Neste Corporation
Neste Corporation refines and markets oil out of Finland. This type of business may seem inherently unsustainable unless, like Neste, your company decides to invest heavily in biofuels and commit to developing that revenue stream to nearly half of their total revenue by 2050.
In fact, they are number three in the world on the Corporate Knights’ Global 100 list of the world’s most sustainable corporations.
Speaking of the top 100, Prologis is the only real estate investment trust to make 2020’s list. Their focus is on sustainable buildings and developments that are environmentally sound. This includes reaching out to and encouraging suppliers to make more sustainable choices.
The most recent data shows that 82% of their buildings have energy efficient lighting, and 40% of them have cool roofs.
4. Banco de Brasil
Banco de Brasil is the most environmentally sustainable bank in the world.
Its corporate sustainability initiatives include offering more green loans than any other bank. Green loans are given to environmentally-focused projects and a third of Banco de Brasil’s loan book consists of green loans. It’s a simple, yet powerful, way to put more money towards sustainability.
These days, pharmaceutical companies are working hard to clean up their image, but GlaxoSmithKline is also working hard to keep the environment clean. They are committed to reducing their environmental footprint, reducing waste and emissions by 25% by 2030. This commitment means that 60% of their revenue is considered “clean.”
Another bonus is their commitment to gender diversity. Their board of directors is made up of 40% of people who identify as women.
This clothing company is focusing on the third of the three “Rs”: recycle. Everlane has launched a clothing line, ReNew, that uses plastics to make fashionable, functional, and environmentally friendly outerwear.
This is just the first step in their commitment to completely erase plastic from their supply chain by 2021.
Known more for its high-intensity, high-tech launch spectacles and factories in China than its environmental sustainability, Apple is committing to mediating the effect of climate change in some of the hardest hit areas.
Working with Conservation International, Apple has pledged to replant 27,000 mangrove trees along the coastline in Colombia. These trees “scrub” carbon from the atmosphere and protect the coastlines from erosion.
Apple also runs on 100% green energy at its production facilities, relying on wind and solar power instead of fossil fuels.
It’s hard to believe that a company that uses plastic as its primary material would offer any good examples of corporate sustainability initiatives, but here we are.
Among LEGO’s environmental goals are reducing packaging and sourcing 100% renewable energy by the end of 2020. They are also aiming for a 90% recycling rate, too.
Google’s focus on “greening” their supply chain is just one of the ways they are working to improve their sustainability efforts.
From their sustainable energy sources to their farmer’s markets to the herds of goats that trim their grass, you don’t need to search hard for Google’s corporate culture of sustainability.
You might consider eBay the godparents of all other corporate sustainability initiatives. After all, they pioneered the idea of reusing goods instead of throwing things out to buy something new.
The company is going even further by partnering with the U.S. Postal Service to provide green shipping options and also offering local places to sell goods to further reduce the environmental cost of shipping.
This includes supporting the work of universities and other research programs focused on sustainability.
12. 250 companies
The list was too long to elaborate here, but 250 different companies across a wide variety of industries have pledged to eliminate unnecessary plastic in their products and packaging and to recycle and reuse the plastic that is needed.
Their ultimate goal? To only use plastic packaging that is reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025.
Find your inspiration
Maybe your company’s budget doesn’t run into the millions, but these examples of corporate sustainability initiatives will inspire you to consider what you can do. The first step? Deciding on a path to sustainability and getting the training your workforce needs to get there.