Until a few years back, terms like ‘climate change,’ ‘circular economy,’ and ‘corporate sustainability’ weren’t really popular in India. But with growing concerns for the deteriorating climate, things have started to change for good. Businesses are becoming more conscious of their activities as the climate emergency threatens the supply of resources, and customers are realizing their role in environmental protection as well. In fact, many big corporations are taking sustainability initiatives, not for conservation motives per se, but more so because the demand for green goods and services is steadily rising.
According to survey results, consumers are actually willing to pay more for eco-friendly products. A study conducted by Unilever found that at least one in every three consumers buys from brands they think are working towards environmental or social good . If you are thinking of launching an environmental project or starting a green business, the world definitely needs it.
However, implementing meaningful change can seem an overwhelmingly complex task, especially if you are just starting out. Looking at examples of sustainability initiatives taken by other companies can inspire ideas to bring your business on the green track too.
Here are some of the best examples of sustainability initiatives in the corporate world that you need to know:
Zephyr Solar is an eco-friendly generator that takes the form of a photovoltaic balloon. It is created by a French startup, EONEF. The autonomous aerial platform is basically a helium-filled balloon that works with solar power. It can be used as an energy-efficient aerial observation unit for measuring air quality or viewing wildlife in natural reservation parks. Or it can also be deployed to remote or disaster-stricken areas to promote communication and coordination. The balloon has a sturdy yet lightweight construction and can stay afloat for up to 30 days while withstanding wind speeds of over 40 mph.
The Groasis Waterboxx is an innovative product that makes it possible to grow trees, even in deserts. Created by Pieter Hoff, a Dutch flower exporter, the Waterboxx is 100% environmentally friendly. It features a ‘smart bucket’ that is made from recycled paper. The organic composition of the planting device provides a favorable environment for seeds to germinate. It also has an automatic water system to incubate saplings and help the plants thrive. Plants grown in the Groasis Waterboxx use up to 90% less water compared to plants grown in regular pots.
This sustainability initiative is a great example of one man’s effort to play his part in conserving the environment while allowing him to build his business at the same time.
Neste Corporation is a Finnish company that refines and markets oil products in over 14 countries worldwide. As an enterprise in the oil refinery sector, one would consider this type of organization to be inherently unsustainable. But surprisingly, Neste boasts a position in the top 3 ranks on the Corporate Knights’ Global 100 list of the most sustainable corporations in the world.
Neste Corporation is known for heavily investing in biofuels and similar green projects. It has become a global leader in circular and renewable solutions for the transportation, chemical, and plastic industries. Neste diverts the stream of income from its investments to improve the efficiency of its own production processes. The company aims to achieve completely carbon-neutral production by 2035 and is focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions on the customers’ end too .
Neste sends out an important message with its long-term sustainability plan. Even if organizations cannot immediately shift to green production methods, they should explore other ways to protect the environment. Revenue earned from other channels can then be utilized to transform the company’s own methods.
4Albert Heijn – Supermarket Herb Garden
We come across supermarket chains marketing their groceries as the freshest in town. But Albert Heijn, a Dutch supermarket store, took the idea of selling fresh produce to a whole new level. The company set up in-store herb gardens, wherein rows upon rows of shelves in the vegetable section were replaced with planters blooming with fresh edible herbs. Buyers could trim as many sprigs of the herbs as they needed.
This initiative not only reduced transportation costs but also helped the company cut down on the use of plastic packaging. Creative sustainability schemes such as this one instantly click with consumers and can have far-reaching benefits for the local community and the world at large.
You might be familiar with the sustainable shoes by Nike, which are famously made from scrap materials, such as plastic bottles. It is a great initiative by the company to reduce its impact on the environment and maintain a positive image with its customers.
According to Nike, the use of recycled raw materials is not limited to its footwear only. Sustainable materials account for nearly 30% of the supplies used in Nike’s apparel production as well. The company CSR report says that it has been successful in recycling more than 10 million pounds of waste so far .
6Banco de Brasil
Banco de Brazil is the largest bank in Latin America that enjoys a reputation for being the world’s most environmentally sustainable bank. The sustainability initiatives of this institution are actually quite simple. Banco de Brazil offers the highest number of green loans than other banks. Green loans refer to financial aids given to corporate projects and companies that are almost exclusively focused on environmental protection. One in every three loans that the bank provides is a green loan. It’s a straightforward approach towards sustainability, yet it’s a powerful measure to put more money for the purpose of saving the environment and encourage others to do so too.
You don’t need to be an environmentalist to know that the world climate is changing as pollution rises day by day. In a bid to conserve nature, companies, as well as consumers, are becoming more and more aware of the environmental impact of their sale and purchase decisions. If you are searching for ideas for cost-effective yet influential sustainability initiatives, we hope that in the aforementioned examples, you found something worth your while.