There is a belief that large businesses hurt the environment much more than help it. Whether it is the emissions from the companies’ factories that throw out pollution into the air, high energy and water consumption in the process of manufacturing, or the products themselves, it is not hard to fathom that large corporations are hurting the environment. Could this all be related to climate change? Is this why temperatures and weather are changing dramatically day to day? In any case, we all know we should be protecting the environment. These companies listed below get that, and they are making changes that, hopefully, more businesses do down the line.
New Belgium Brewing Company
Everyone loves a good mug of ice cold beer. But there are environmental consequences that go along with the production of it. High water usage, soil quality around the factories, and greenhouse gas emissions are all issues to be concerned about with these companies. That does not even include the emissions from their delivery trucks or gas consumption.
New Belgium Brewing Company is the third largest craft brewery in the United States. They are based out of Colorado, a state that knows the importance of the environment. New Belgium Brewing Company has made an investment in protecting the environment, and they are proud of it. Their solar panels produce enough electricity to help power the bottling plant. And while much of the world struggles to find clean drinking water, they have an anaerobic digester that processes wastewater into energy to help power the whole brewing process. Also, their 50 acre property is free of many motorized vehicles since the company issues bicycles for employees to get around from one place to another.
They were also the first brewing company to join Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP). BICEP is a coalition of businesses that would like more meaningful energy and climate legislation to better protect the environment. Their goal is to to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, with an interim goal of at least 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. There are 41 companies that are members of BICEP. A few of the other major ones are Starbucks, Nike, eBay, Nestle, and Ben and Jerry’s.
Apple continues to be a leader in the tech world, but not many people know they are also a company that leads by example in saving the environment. When it comes to going green, not many other companies have taken it to heart as much as Apple.
Apple made a $848 million energy deal with a solar farm located in California that powers all of its operations with renewable energy. This is a great deal in the long run since California is well known to have electricity issues across the state. By not having to rely on California’s electricity supply, Apple is doing itself a huge favor.
Not long after they signed that deal, Apple signed on to receive 100 percent of its paper and packaging from sustainable sources. No longer will they have a need to cut down a forest of trees for paper. Plus, Apple has more than 10,000 employees that actively use the company’s transit and commuter buses, reducing emissions and gas consumption. It’s nice to see a highly successful company that cares about the environment more than the bottom dollar.
Since 2008, IKEA has been the world’s largest furniture retailer. With its ready-for-assembly furniture, the Swedish-founded company has been very successful. Based in the Netherlands, they are a staple of home furnishings around the globe. In addition, they are also leading the way on environmental issues.
IKEA produces 50 percent of its wood for its furniture through sustainable foresters. For those that are unfamiliar with the term, sustainable foresters take down trees, but then immediately plants a new one its place. It is a bit like growing crops year after year, but on a much bigger scope. They also receive 100 percent of its cotton through farms that meet the Better Cotton guidelines, ways to save energy and water efficiently in farming.
IKEA uses more than 700,000 solar panels to power its many stories. It is a renewable energy source that they enjoy so much that they have started selling solar panels and a battery storage system to its customers. IKEA says that a normal home with solar panels will only use 40 percent of the energy that the solar panels provide. That means the other 60 percent can be stored in the battery storage system or sold to the local electric company. In either case, IKEA says that the solar panels will cut back your energy bill about 70 percent.
United Technologies Corporation
United Technologies Corporation (UTC) has several interests, and manufactures products in many areas, including aircraft engines, aerospace systems, HVAC, elevators and escalators, fire and security, building systems, and industrial products. They employ more than 200,000 people, so when you are speaking of large companies, this is definitely one of them. Available to its employees are programs that encourage lifelong learners and increasing leadership qualities.
UTC also has its eyes on improving the environment. They are active in reducing greenhouse gas and chemical emissions, energy and water consumption, and industrial waste. UTC would like to be at the forefront of the green building movement by improving environmental performance and practices.
Louis Chenevert, former UTC president and CEO who retired in 2014, was interested during his tenure in creating more environmentally friendly designs and concepts. In fact, he actually incorporated this into the selling points for the products the company offers. Chenevert was interested in having the company reduce its impact on the environment. Soon, emission of greenhouse gasses were down by 26 percent, and factories cut their water consumption down by 53 percent. UTC made mandatory these goals for all of their facilities across the globe. Going green is a concept that more companies will hopefully encourage as we get further along in the 21st century.