Along with the fact fossil fuels release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and thus cause climate change, it is also common knowledge (although still contested by a hardy few) that they will run out before the end of this century. Therefore, more eco-friendly energy alternatives are required.
Although the world’s biggest oil companies continue to deliver impressive profit margins for investors, the tide could soon turn in favour of companies defending the environment. Several organisations are championing more sustainable ways of doing business too, while the public want to protect the planet more than ever before.
- Seventh Generation
Since it was founded in 1988, Seventh Generation has gone on to become a leading producer of environmentally friendly household goods, which include vegetable-based cleaning products, natural lotion baby wipes, and chlorine-free tampons.
The Burlington VT-based company, which takes its name from an Iroquois law that says ‘in our every deliberation we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations’, banks more than $200 million in sales.
A specialist in high-end outdoor equipment and clothing, Patagonia employs more than 1,300 people and generates $540 million in sales. However, this ecological organisation also pledges that three quarters of its materials are recycled, organic, or otherwise environmentally sound.
Patagonia’s eco-friendly outlook dates back to the early 70s and, since 1995, members of staff have had up to two months off with full pay to volunteer for an environmental organisation.
- New Belgium Brewing
You might be surprised to see the third-largest craft beer maker in the US on this list, but New Belgium Brewing monitors and records all of its energy use, waste production, and emissions.
The Fort Collins-based company even recycles, reuses, or composts more than 75 per cent of the waste it produces during manufacturing. New Belgium Brewing is one hundred per cent employee owned, has more than 480 staff members, and upwards of $180 million in revenues.
- West Paw Design
Yet another company you might not expect to see safeguarding future generations, West Paw Design makes eco-friendly dog toys, mats and beds that are filled with fibre from recycled plastic bottles.
Energy waste and emissions from transport are kept to a minimum as 98 per cent of the company’s products are manufactured in the same facility as its offices. When the time does come for shipping, West Paw Design uses recycled paper and soy-based inks in its packaging.
Last but not least, WasteZero has a mission to cut US residential solid waste in half. This is because Americans spend $100 billion every year discarding recyclable materials, including 59 billion pounds of paper, 63 billion pounds of plastic, and six billion pounds of aluminium.
As an incentive for people to recycle more, WasteZero pioneered the so-called ‘pay-as-you-throw’ model back in 1991, where residents pay for refuse collection based on how much they get rid off.