September 22, 2016

Who are the 3 Green Monsters? The Good Ones…

Businesses have the ability to change things. Not just our daily lives, but the world as well. There are for-profit businesses out there striving to be greater by benefitting the future of our planet. And the list is growing. More companies are heading down the path of environmental responsibility, but there are a few that really stand out.


1. Nike

Yes, Nike, the business that encourages everyone to get up off the couch and be active. For some, the thought is worse than Barb’s fate in the “upside down” (#strangerthings #teambarb), but for most, it stirs excitement to face new challenges and adventures. A brand element that has been instilled from the start.

But now, Nike is focused on changing the future as well. They’ve encouraged the ability to re-think, which generated a new wave of innovation in efforts to make a monstrous environmental impact.

“If all we do is create a single line of green products, we will have failed. Sustainability must be a design ethos across all of our products.” –Mark Parker, CEO and President of Nike

Drivers and thought leaders, Nike has diverted 92% of total waste from landfill and incineration. They’ve set in place strong efficiency measures and transitioned to renewable sources. As a result, they’ve cut energy use per unit in half!

And like all environmental responsibility leaders, Nike is focused on conserving water usage. They “focus on understanding, reducing and improving” their water use. They’ve reduced water use by 18% per unit in apparel materials and 43% per unit in footwear manufacturing.

Much of Nike’s sustainability success stems from their “Closed Loop Ecosystem” which handles the design, sourcing, manufacturing, distribution, and the inevitable end-of-life, to benefit the revitalization of materials for their new line of products.

Their reports indicate, “A palette of premium recycled materials—is used in 71% of Nike footwear and apparel products, in everything from yarns and trims, to soccer kits and basketball shoes.”

Some of their goals for 2020 include reaching 100% renewable energy in owned and operated facilities, eliminating footwear and manufacturing waste to landfill/incineration, reaching a 20% reduction in water use and enabling zero discharge of hazardous chemicals.

Change starts with sacrifice, and the fact that Nike is willing to invest in such measures should speak truth to the value of their brand.


2. Disney

Who doesn’t love Disney? If you’re shouting “Me!” then maybe you have some soul searching to do because this company has created an experience for children and families unlike anything out there. But on top of all that, they strive to make a lasting impact on the environment.

They have a goal to reach a “zero” state of net direct greenhouse gas emissions at every single one of their facilities. Consequently, this led to an effort to reduce indirect gas emissions by decreasing their electrical consumption. In 2015, they reduced emissions by 34%, and by 2020, they plan to reduce net emissions by 50%.

The “zero” state also applies to its waste policy, which pushes toward eliminating trash from reaching landfills. In 2015, Disney diverted 49% of its waste from landfills, and by 2020, their plan is to divert 60% of their waste from landfills and incineration.

They plan to maintain potable water consumption at their 2013 levels at existing sites. And, they’re developing water conservation plans for new sites.

But the beauty is not what they save. It’s what Disney gives.

Disney has invested in forest carbon projects as part of their carbon reduction strategy. The projects include avoided deforestation, improved forest management, and reforestation.

All in all, Disney has brought joy to millions of lives, but they’ve impacted billions more in efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, making a lasting change in a world where they’ve seen so much success.


3. Starbucks

Not a huge shock that Starbucks is one of the giants aiding the environment. It’s been woven into their brand since the start. But what many don’t know is the true weight of their impact.

Recycling and reducing waste are usually some of the first things companies try to check off when going green. Hence, why Starbucks has implemented the initiative in their products which affects costs, manufacturing, and distribution. They do it through packaging and reusable cups. Keeping that in mind, most cups holding the coffee you drink consist of around 10-15% post-consumer recycled paper and the reusable cup eliminates waste completely.

Starbucks set a goal to reduce water consumption 25% by 2015. Instead, they ended up reducing their water usage by 26.5%! Also, they’re protecting and accessing clean drinking water in coffee-growing communities through C.A.F.E. Practices. These practices are essentially guidelines to help farmers “grow coffee in a way that’s better for both people and the planet.”

Environmental leadership is part of the C.A.F.E Practices, and it enables a group of third-party verifiers to “protect the rights of workers and ensure safe, fair and humane working and living conditions.” Furthermore, it ensures “compliance with minimum-wage requirements and prohibition of child and forced labor…”

As for energy conservation and renewable energy use, they’ve installed Energy Management Systems in 4,000 of their stores and remain one of the EPA’s top ten purchasers of renewable energy in the U.S.

All of their efforts in pursuit of ethically generating revenue and creating sustainable practices for both energy and conservation are the reason they’ve earned a number three spot on our list of monstrously impactful businesses.


Take Away

“Kill them with kindness” is now a business model. Social entrepreneurs, social enterprises, environmental responsibility, they are the future of business. State a new mission with a goal that exceeds cash, something that makes a difference. It’s time to make a change. It’s time to rethink. Watch out for the monsters, follow their moves, and hopefully you’ll make an impact like them too.

If you’d like to see how we’re addressing environmental responsibility at IRIO, check out our new initiative, Ten For One.