Starbucks Coffee, Shanghai, China
DKart/istockphoto

Big Companies Helping to Fight Climate Change and Protect the Environment

View Slideshow
Starbucks Coffee, Shanghai, China
DKart/istockphoto

Going Green

Plenty of companies have made forays into “going green,” but not all of them have made good on their promises beyond marketing ploys or Earth Day gimmicks. There are, however, several big-name companies that have made serious efforts to minimize their carbon footprints and do their part to nurture the environment. Check out some of the most noteworthy below, and let us know in the comments if we left any out.


Related: 15 Green Jobs That Pay Well

Aldi Logo
kontrast-fotodesign/istockphoto

Aldi

Aldi isn’t slowing down its expansion — the grocer is on track to become the third-largest grocery chain in the nation — but that doesn’t mean the company’s sustainability efforts are falling to the wayside. In fact, for the fourth consecutive year, Aldi is the winner of the Environmental Protection Agency's Store Certification and Recertification Excellence Awards, leading the industry in its efforts toward carbon neutrality. The grocery chain uses eco-friendly, natural refrigerants in its stores, which helps achieve low greenhouse gas emissions.


Related: 30 Things to Know Before Shopping at Aldi

Patagonia, Santa Monica, California
Patagonia Santa Monica/Yelp

Patagonia

When it comes to corporate environmentally friendly advances, Patagonia basically drops the mic. The outdoor clothing company’s founder, Yvon Chouinard, just gave away his fortune to hand Patagonia over to the environment — seriously. After 50 years in business, Chouinard transferred ownership of the $3 billion company to a trust and nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the environment and fighting climate change. Every year, the company’s profits (an estimated $100 million) will go toward environmental causes rather than lining Chouinard’s pockets.


Related: Patagonia Founder Gives Away Company

Coke Bottle And Glass
BlakeDavidTaylor/istockphoto

Coca-Cola

Sprite isn’t getting a makeover as part of your average, run-of-the-mill rebranding attempt. Instead, Coca-Cola recently ditched the iconic green plastic bottles in favor of clear plastic. Green polyethylene terephthalate is the additive behind the former green Sprite bottles, but since it cannot be recycled into new bottles, the move to clear plastic will help Coca-Cola reduce its plastic waste.


Related: Fun and Little-Known Facts About Coca-Cola

Name sign above the entrance of Google offices in London, UK.
Alena Kravchenko/istockphoto

Google

Have you ever noticed the “Carbon neutral since 2007” statement at the bottom of Google’s homepage (or did you just check it out for the first time right now)? Either way, the tech behemoth has been offsetting its fossil fuel emissions by investing in renewable energy for the past 15 years. The company has also revealed plans to become completely carbon-free by 2030. As part of its green initiative, Google recently opened a new campus in Mountain View, California complete with a sustainable design. Bay View — which is North America’s largest geothermal installation — features all-electric facilities, has ventilation systems that use 100% outdoor air while standard systems only use around 20-30%, and the campus is net water positive, meaning it creates more water than it actually uses.

Salesforce
Wikimedia Commons

Salesforce

Sustainability goals at Salesforce are widespread — yet still attainable, apparently. The cloud-based software company uses 100% renewable energy for its global operations by placing an internal price on carbon emissions, adding financial incentives for cutting carbon dioxide emissions. As such, the company has said it prevents 100 gigatons of carbon emissions, but Salesforce continues to set new initiatives. Also on the company’s agenda is cutting its travel emissions in half by replacing air travel with rail travel. 


For more smart business coverage,please sign up for our free newsletters.

Starbucks Coffee, Shanghai, China
DKart/istockphoto

Starbucks

You might find some solace the next time you grimace at what your morning coffee costs at Starbucks since the company has taken a stand to become more environmentally aware — after all, that means your contribution is technically good for the environment, right? Since 2020, Starbucks has been working toward cutting its waste, carbon, and water footprints by at least 50%. The coffee giant has always led the market for sustainably sourced coffee, but by 2030, Starbucks plans to sell carbon neutral green coffee and subsequently conserve on water.   


Related: 16 Things You Didn't Know About Starbucks


Toyota logo
ollo/istockphoto

Toyota

Toyota is responsible for the world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle: the Prius. Since the debut of the first Prius in 2007, the automaker has grown leaps and bounds in terms of its efforts to manufacture and market hybrid and fully electric vehicles. As the second-largest EV manufacturer — behind only Tesla — Toyota has plans to produce 3.5 million electric vehicles by 2030. Despite its extensive background and position in the hybrid and EV market, some environmentalists still criticize the auto giant for treading lightly in terms of investing entirely in 100% electric vehicles. Toyota, however, stands behind its belief that although electric vehicles are one way to become carbon neutral, they are not the only way — and for many consumers, they are not the most practical or affordable way, either. The company has mentioned e-fuels and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles as some of its potential ventures.


RelatedElectric Cars Cheaper Than a Tesla

Disney Logo On Shop Window
RinoCdZ/istockphoto

Disney

With plans to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 for its direct operations, Disney has made plenty of progress toward its sustainability goals. Notably, the company has a no-waste policy, so none of its waste is supposed to be sent to landfills — recently, the policy was responsible for diverting 61% of the entire company’s operational waste from landfills. Disney also announced plans for two new solar facilities expected to be active near Disney World sometime in 2023.


Related: 25 Ways Disney Revolutionized Entertainment

Johnson & Johnson Medical Products company in Markham, Ontario
JHVEPhoto/istockphoto

S.C. Johnson

“The family company” formed a partnership with Plastic Bank in 2018 to fight against plastic pollution. Earlier this year, through its union with S.C. Johnson, Plastic Bank prevented the equivalent of 2 billion plastic bottles from polluting the world’s oceans. The company also promotes renewable energy and deforestation efforts, plus its manufacturing facilities follow a no-waste model.


Nike Running store at Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
winhorse/istockphoto

Nike

Nike is no stranger to using recycled materials in both its sneakers and apparel, and the company strives to reduce its carbon footprint with plans to achieve zero waste and zero carbon. The company also encourages its customers to recycle their old shoes and some Nike stores will even accept donations.


Ford
fredrocko/istockphoto

Ford Motor Co.

Home to the world’s largest green roof, Ford’s Dearborn, Michigan, headquarters has vegetation covering more than 10 acres on its roof — that’s the size of about eight football fields. The roof provides insulation that helps the plant conserve on heating costs, plus it lasts longer than conventional roofing materials. Ford has also ramped up its production of hybrids and EVs and has made waves for its use of sustainable fabrics and materials for its vehicles.


General Motors
buzbuzzer/istockphoto

General Motors

Automaker General Motors isn’t merely offering electric vehicles to fight climate change and protect the environment. The company plans to have carbon-neutral operations and products by 2040. To reach that goal, GM is aiming to use entirely renewable energy internationally by 2035 and in the U.S. by 2025.