Implementing strategies to increase sustainability across multiple aspects of business has become increasingly important for companies around the world. Reducing landfill waste and harmful greenhouse gas emissions, using sustainable materials in manufacturing and packaging, conserving energy, recycling, and preserving natural resources are some things companies can do maintain a positive environmental footprint and help protect the planet for generations to come.
Adopting environmental practices by identifying areas of improvement and setting achievable goals gets easier as a business puts sustainable plans and programs into action and commits to its efforts. Learn more about three companies who are committed to increasing their sustainability efforts into the next decade and beyond.
Disposable coffee cups have been a source of environmental frustration for years. These kinds of cups reportedly contain five percent polyurethane plastic, which makes recycling and composting them very difficult. Maybe the most alarming fact is about half a trillion disposable cups are manufactured each year around the world – which equates to more than 70 disposable cups for each person on the planet.
As one of the leading coffee retailers and coffeehouse chains, Starbucks has been the subject of a “Starbucks: Break Free From Plastic” global campaign, urging the company to use a recyclable, eco-friendly cup.
Starbucks is committed to its ongoing sustainability efforts as this decade is nearing a close and the next one approaches. Key sustainability goals include being committed to buying only 100 percent ethically-sourced coffee (teaming with Conservation International in the effort); making coffee the world’s first sustainable agricultural product; providing 100 million coffee trees to farmers by 2025 as part of a one billion coffee tree commitment; and doubling the recycled content, reusability, and recyclability of Starbucks cups by 2020.
The company is also aiming to build and operate 10,000 energy-efficient Greener Retail Stores which incorporate environmentally-friendly building standards by 2025.
Amazon is the world’s largest e-commerce marketplace in North America and beyond, according to a 2018 Shopify report. In fact, the online retail giant operates more than 175 fulfillment centers around the world with more than 110 operational facilities in North America. Millions of orders are processed and millions of items are shipped each year.
Amazon employs many different sustainability efforts, including providing frustration-free packaging that is designed to reduce waste and help end “wrap rage.” The packaging is also 100 percent recyclable and endures several physical performance tests. The innovative packaging program has also helped eliminate 244,000 tons of packaging materials, saving 500 million boxes from needing to be shipped.
Other sustainability efforts include operating wind farms such as one in Texas, which impressively boasts 110 turbines, a district energy heat recycling initiative which is projected to save 80 million kilowatt hours of electricity across a 25-year period and more.
The international consumer electronics retailer was founded in as an audio specialty store in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1966 under the name Sound of Music. In 1983, the store was rebranded under Best Buy and shifted to consumer electronics sales. As of 2018, the company reportedly operated 1,509 stores across the globe.
Best Buy notably topped Barron’s 100 Most Sustainable U.S. Companies for 2019 list. Chairman and CEO Hubert Joy addressed the company’s ongoing commitment to sustainability in a statement about Barron’s ranking recognition. He said, “Sustainability is embedded in everything we do. It starts with the company’s philosophy to contribute to the common good and our purpose to enrich lives through technology by addressing key human needs.”
Best Buy proudly remains committed to a variety of sustainability goals and initiatives including aiming to reduce carbon emissions by 60 percent over the company’s 2009 baseline by 2020 as well as striving to become carbon neutral by 2050. Another huge 2020 goal is to collect 2 billion pounds of electronics and appliances for recycling via its wide-reaching e-waste recycling program.