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5 Companies Engaging Their Employees Around Sustainability


By Brigg Patten

Sustainability is no longer a buzzword that companies can simply talk about in order to improve their image. Sustainability and corporate social responsibility are standard policies that every successful company must embrace to remain successful and profitable in the 21st century. Successful sustainability programs result in increased savings and profits through tax incentives and the inevitable consumer demand for greener products and services.

Sustainability helps to create a more positive brand and increases a company’s leadership role within the industry. These five companies are well-known for training their employees to care about sustainability -- turning this key engagement point into bottom-line results.

1. Nike

Nike has historically suffered PR problems from its poor production outsourcing decisions. However, Nike has revolutionized how its employees and the public access sustainability data.

The sportswear manufacturer created a unique app called Making that helps designers in any industry around the world make better decisions that result in more eco-friendly products. Making is a public sustainability e-learning solution that ranks a company’s product according to energy usage, waste generation and water and soil impact.

Nike is also training its employees to care about sustainability through transparency and global collaboration.

2. Walmart

Walmart is one of the world’s largest retailers. While the company has its own environmental sustainability program, it also trains and educates its supply-chain partners. One problem that Walmart has historically faced is its overseas factories and suppliers using unethical or eco-unfriendly practices. However, Walmart has a very organized supply-chain training program to help achieve sustainable improvements.

3. General Mills

General Mills is a multinational food manufacturer that has an excellent sustainability record. Its sustainability mission is focused on protecting both natural resources and local communities.

Every year, General Mills offers annual reports about its accomplishments with sustainability and global responsibility. The company's transparent sustainability report details its energy, fuel and water rates. In addition to this, the reports also provide data on General Mills' greenhouse emissions and solid waste generation rates. General Mills trains its employees that sustainability goals can truly only be reached through reducing environmental footprints with transparent metrics.

4. Starbucks

Starbucks has one of the most universally recognizable logos in the world. Since the global coffeehouse chain relies on agricultural products, it proudly states that the planet is its most important business partner.

Starbucks teaches its employees about its four main sustainable programs: climate change, recycling and waste reduction, water and energy conservation, and LEED certification for stores. Starbucks makes active efforts to train employees to promote recycling, reusable cups and waste reduction.

5. PepsiCo

PepsiCo may be second place to Coca-Cola in the beverage industry, but it's first place in the field of sustainability. Every year during the annual shareholder meeting, PepsiCo publicly reveals its updated sustainability strategy and goals for the following year.

According to PepsiCo, its primary business goals are not just financial performance, but also sustainable growth through discovering innovative ways to minimize the environmental impacts of its operations. The first step in training employees to care about sustainability is for executives and upper management to model ideal attitudes and behaviors.


In the end, these five companies are making headlines by investing in employees and the environment. Understandably, employees may be naturally resistant to engaging in sustainable practices because they are busy or worn-out. However, companies can successfully encourage employees to engage in sustainability through offering flexible scheduling for training and the right resources.

Image credit: Pixabay

Brigg Patten writes in the business and tech spaces. He's a fan of podcasts, bokeh and smooth jazz. His time is mostly spent learning the piano and watching his Golden Retriever Julian chase a stick.
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