With a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads, and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.
When it comes to corporate responsibility, far too many major brands are like a bad boyfriend: Sure, their claims sound great at first, but it doesn't take much follow-up before their true colors come out, leaving you disappointed and in desperate need of a rebound.
But hey, Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and no one wants to hear those stories. To celebrate this day of love, this week we're tipping our hats to seven brand crushes that have never let us down.
Method hopes its new factory on the South Side of Chicago will be the first LEED Platinum certified factory in the consumer packaged goods industry. The company already revealed plans for the largest rooftop farm in the world atop its factory, which will produce up to 1 million pounds of produce each year. The fact that Method never overtly claims to be "green" only makes us love them more.
And, in what is an unfortunately rare occurrence, Unilever's business practices match up its sustainably-minded CEO: In rankings that lambast other companies for falling short, Unilever consistently earns top brass as one of few exceptions. (Seriously, take your pick: deforestation, palm oil practices, carbon emissions, the list goes on and on.) If that isn't enough to make you swoon, the company is also well on its way to sending zero waste to landfill, and it struck a five-year global agreement with a U.N. agency that aims to better train and connect smallholder farmers to the marketplace.
And it's not one of those brand crushes that bails when the going gets tough: This year the fast-casual chain demonstrated its commitment to sustainable sourcing by cutting out pork at more than a third of its restaurants after a supplier failed to meet company standards. The company doubled down on its position during its earnings call this month, which was basically a business case for sustainable sourcing.
With that much history, it's tough to describe all the reasons we love Patagonia, but here are some standouts: The company has been making fleece from repurposed plastics since 1993. It later debuted a plant-based wetsuit and even went fair trade. Patagonia also consistently irks other companies (and makes us jump for joy) around Black Friday: Its "Don't Buy This Jacket" campaign, and similar initiatives that target reduced consumption, urge consumers to think twice before buying. Wow, there's a novel idea.
But these aren't the only ways New Belgium embraces sustainability: Back in 2010, TriplePundit readers voted then co-CEOs, Jeff Lebesch and Kim Jordan, as some of the most sustainably-minded in the country. (Jordan still serves as CEO of the company.) New Belgium also made its way onto our top 10 sustainable breweries list, is 100 percent employee-owned and was one of only six companies recognized in a recent study for taking responsibility for its packaging.
Not one to rest on its laurels, Seventh Generation continues to be vocal about chemicals reform outside its own walls -- from leading the Companies for Safer Chemicals coalition to becoming one of the largest donors to the Whole Planet Foundation, which seeks to provide micro-financing for sustainable development projects in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
The automaker's growth was swift and dominant: In 2013, it paid off a $451.8 million load from the Department of Energy -- nine years before it was due. Tesla has now set its sights on bigger things -- like its planned "Gigafactory," that will produce batteries for both vehicles and energy storage, and its decision to open-source its coveted technology to the entire auto industry. We're still waiting on that lower-priced model though, guys.
Did we miss your favorite brand? Tell us about it in the comments section!
Image courtesy of Method
Mary Mazzoni is the Senior Editor of TriplePundit. You can follow her on Twitter @mary_mazzoni.