By Jessica Oaks
It’s 2015, and planet earth ain’t what it used to be. With extreme weather conditions like hurricanes, heat waves, droughts and polar vortexes becoming the norm, people are started to take these signs of significant global warming a lot more seriously.
The leaders of the economic world, aka businesses, are leading the rest of society into saving the planet by practicing corporate responsibility and sustainability. Here are five brands that have focused on doing their part to help the environment.
The retail company has prioritized investment in sustainability not only to benefit its future, but also for the communities it operates in. Upon entering an H&M store, any shopper can notice the brightly-lit, often massive, store lined with clothes. More than 80 percent of the company's energy footprint comes from H&M stores, which is why the brand understands that energy usage needs to be a main consideration.
The company made a public commitment to get all of its electricity from renewable sources wherever available. And by 2020, H&M plans to cut electricity use by 20 percent per square meter. The retail clothing giant is also the world’s No. 1 user of organic cotton.
Unilever provides products globally and has created a new business model that focuses on the well-being and health of people around the world. It utilizes sustainable resources and drives sustainability in every corner of the business — with the constant goal to hold a positive social impact. Taking a holistic approach, the business is innovating its products to require less water for instance and forming partnerships to tackle global issues like deforestation and improving sanitation, hygiene and access to water.
The automaker has a 2016 goal to reduce waste sent to landfills by 40 percent per vehicle (from 2011), and it's working to improves fuel economy through sustainable technologies and alternative fuel plans. The company has introduced six electrified vehicles already and is facilitating mass adoption and use of this sustainable auto alternative.
Spirit labels like Ketel One Vodka, under the Diageo umbrella, are majorly cutting water usage in production. Diageo has made a commitment to reduce water use through a 50 percent improvement in water efficiency, return 100 percent of wastewater from operations to the environment in a safe manner, and replenish water-stressed locations with the same amount of water used in their final products -- all by 2020. It also has formed an initiative to provide safe drinking water and sanitation to those in need as part of the water conservation program.
The aforementioned businesses are just a few of the many that are starting to take big action in protecting the environment. In the years to come, they will be hitting their targets and continuing to grow and save the planet with even more preventative measures.
Image credit: Ford Motor Co.
Jessica Oaks is a freelance journalist who loves to cover technology news and the ways that technology makes life easier. She also blogs at FreshlyTechy.com. Check her out on Twitter @TechyJessy.