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5 Brands Going Big on Sustainability

Words by 3p Contributor
Leadership & Transparency
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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.

H&M


As one of the world’s largest clothing retailers, H&M has made something of a 180 -- going from a oft-maligned, fast-fashion company to a veritable pioneer in making the fashion world green-friendly.

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


Global consumer goods company Unilever has worked diligently on its carbon footprint. It has reduced energy consumption across its manufacturing network by 20 percent, which has resulted in 1 million metric tons of carbon emissions saved since 2008.

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.

Ford


Within the automotive industry, Ford is leading the pack in minimizing environmental impact. It’s implemented a science-based strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its products and practicing operations geared toward stabilizing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.

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.

Ketel One


The word alcohol triggers a connection with water in many ways. Aside from rehydrating from a rough night, water conservation is a huge concern in this consumer beverage category.

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.

Heinz


Agriculture and food are integral to the earth’s ecosystem. Heinz is one company practicing sustainability in all aspects of the food chain. It practices quality control in sustainable agriculture, overseeing that the health of the land in which so many of Heinz-branded products are farmed from are safely grown. Furthermore, supply chain management is at the forefront — reduction in factory production emissions and packaging waste is a key goal.

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.

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