9 Companies Fighting for Sustainability and Climate Change

 

Social responsibility is important in 2020. In a world where climate change should make sustainability top of mind, organizations need to make their products ethical and environmentally friendly.

Sure, increasing revenue and supporting sustainability might seem like a challenge, but it’s not only a challenge worth pursuing, but truly the responsibility for companies — and set the precedents for future production.

There’s a growing desire for corporate responsibility too. Millennials are willing to pay more money for sustainable products and companies that stand up for the greater good. Nielsen's 2018 “Millennials on Millennials” study, which surveyed 1,058 millennials regarding the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in their purchasing decisions, found "significantly more millennials responded by saying that CSR is extremely or very important."

Seventy percent indicated that they would "be more likely to purchase from a brand if it handled a social issue well." That says it all, really. Below are brands that have made it part of the core missions to promote sustainability and reduce the negative effects production has on the environment.

Greta Thunberg, the teen activist, perhaps has said it best: “We can’t just continue living as if there was no tomorrow, because there is a tomorrow. That is all we are saying.”

Brita

Last year, Americans consumed more water than ever, providing a marketing opportunity for the company. Single-use bottled water, according to Brita, is the most popular beverage in the U.S., which is not sustainable since the bottles are plastic. Every second, 2,000 bottles are being used, according to data provided by Brita, and 70 percent of plastic bottles are not being recycled.

What may surprise you is this: 60 percent of bottled water usage happens at home — which means that people need a better filtering system at home, not when they’re out and about (as might be assumed).

Since Brita evaluated its mission and how to communicate that to consumers, it established a new growth strategy with an overarching message to make water better for people and the planet, and is helping people break the bottled water habit by using filters. It did this through launching a campaign with statistics about water bottle use and climate change to inspire people to make personal changes.  

Keurig

The Keurig Beverage Brewing Company wanted to increase the visibility of fair-trade issues and has educated many coffee drinkers on the perilous economic situations faced by many coffee growers. As a popular seller of coffeemakers and coffee, Keurig felt an urgent responsibility to help address this issue and has promised to improve the livelihood of one million coffee growers by 2020.

The company also wanted to address the fact that its single-serve coffeemakers use disposable pods which aren’t sustainable for the environment, prompting Keurig to vow that its operations will produce zero landfill waste by 2020 and develop recyclable coffee pods for the U.S. market.

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson’s procurement organization plays a significant role in shaping its enterprise supplier base. The company is focused on increasing the global diversity of its suppliers and outlining stronger sustainability standards. The brand is committed to “caring for the world, one person at a time.” Its procurement organization plays an important role in promoting the mission.

Slavery is an issue in many parts of the world, and J&J has established rules to prevent working with businesses that do not abide by the company’s ethical standards. To decrease carbon dioxide and deforestation, J&J works with forestry industry bodies to define standards and practices.

The Body Shop

The Body Shop is committed to "enriching its people, products, and planet" by ensuring that all of its natural ingredients are "traceable and sustainably sourced, protecting 10,000 hectares of forest and other habitat," building bio-bridges, and helping the economically vulnerable access work.

Patagonia

Patagonia, an apparel company established in 1985, has donated $89 million to environmental work and more recently invested $10 million of its savings from federal tax cuts to support environmental organizations. In addition, the brand created ads that raise awareness of the environmental impact of consumption, such as "Don't Buy This Jacket." This campaign originally launched in 2011 as a way to protest Black Friday.

To raise awareness, Patagonia sponsored the production of DamNation, a documentary about the environmental impacts of damming rivers. Rose Marcario, CEO at Patagonia, recently spoke about climate change, stating, "Far too many have suffered the consequences of global warming in recent months, and the political response has so far been woefully inadequate — and the denial is just evil. Taxes protect the most vulnerable in our society, our public lands, and other life-giving resources.”

Helena Barbour, VP of global sportswear at the company, was interviewed, stating, “The bottom line is switching to recycled inputs in our supply chain reduces our carbon footprint. We've done a lot of analysis around this. Most people don't realize how fabrics are created. Synthetics like polyester and nylon are derived from fossil fuels. Naturals like cotton and hemp are grown in an agricultural setting.

“Both of these activities can have an incredibly negative impact on the environment. Recycling allows us to use inputs that would have gone into the waste stream, like plastic bottles. Our ultimate goal is to make all our products and packing from 100 percent recycled and reclaimed content, all from plants grown organically or with regenerative organic agriculture. That's the new standard we're promoting. Currently, we're about 70 percent of the way there.

“At the heart of it, customers, more than any time before, want their purchases to stand for something. They want to engage with brands that reflect their values.”

Unilever

Unilever is known for its Sustainable Living Plan, a blueprint to make sustainable living commonplace while doubling the company's business, reducing its environmental impact, and increasing its social influence. Kellogg Co., for instance, aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent by 2050 and work toward 100 percent reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging by the end of 2025.

Danone North America

Danone North America is the world's largest certified B Corp, a certification that signifies high standards of social and environmental performance. To help combat climate change, Danone has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050 across its full value chain while co-creating carbon positive solutions.

To help consumers adopt healthier, more sustainable eating and drinking habits, Danone's "One Planet. One Health" initiative funds community-based and academic-driven projects in the U.S. and Canada to enhance sustainable food systems.

Proctor & Gamble

P&G's sustainability goals, titled Ambition 2030, encompass four areas: brands, supply chain, society, and employees. To enable these areas, the company created two criteria, called Brand 2030, for its brands to follow: brand ambition and brand fundamentals.

Brand ambition asks P&G's "leadership brands," which represent 80 percent of the company's overall revenue, to put a strategic social or environmental commitment at the forefront of the consumer experience. Brand fundamentals focus on product and packaging innovation by using brand voice, transparency in ingredients, and reducing the supply chain impact on the environment.

Within the next year, 20 of P&G's leadership brands — Always, Tide, Bounty, Braun, Charmin, Crest, Dawn, Downy, Febreze, Gain, Gillette, Head & Shoulders, Herbal Essences, Olay, Oral-B, Pampers, Pantene, SK-II, Vicks, and Venus — will start reporting sustainability progress against the established criteria to help the company achieve its broader Ambition 2030 goals.

Owens Corning

Frank O'Brien-Bernini, VP and chief sustainability officer at Owens Corning, a global leader in insulation, roofing, and fiberglass composites, recently spoke about the company’s 10-year sustainability goals. The company is setting out to decrease its footprint on the environment, which the VP spoke about in a recent interview:

“When we defined our first set of 10-year goals in 2000, Owens Corning was among the very first companies to set holistic footprint-reduction goals. This included the seven material aspects of our negative environmental impact: energy, greenhouse gas, water, volatile organic compounds, waste, nitrogen oxides, and fine particulates.

“We set, achieved, and reported on those first 10-year goals. We are now on our second set of 10-year goals, which run from 2010 to 2020. These goals were established using science-based target-setting methodologies, to set more aggressive greenhouse gas-reduction goals consistent with what the world needs from us to help limit climate change to no more than 2 degrees Celsius.

“Specifically, our 2020 environmental footprint-reduction goals are a 20 percent reduction in primary energy, a 35 percent reduction in water, a 15 percent reduction in fine particulate, a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gases, a 75 percent reduction in toxic-air emissions, and a 70 percent reduction in waste-to-landfill. We also added product transparency goals that are designed to communicate the life-cycle impact of all our core products to our customers. We're now preparing to set our 2030 goals.

“Off our 2010 baseline year, we have now exceeded our goals for primary energy with a 26 percent reduction, water with a 41 percent reduction, and fine particulate with a 25 percent reduction. We are on track to meet our goals for greenhouse gas, with a 48 percent reduction to date, and toxic-air emissions, with a 61 percent reduction to date.

“We have also met our product transparency goal. However, we continue to be challenged by our waste-to-landfill goal, with a 4 percent reduction to date. In the context of total life-cycle impact, we are determined to break through the technical and economic barriers to recycling our manufacturing waste in a way that saves more energy than it consumes.”

Source

"9 Companies Fighting for Sustainability and Climate Change," ANA, 2020.