As important as it is for individuals to do their part for the environment, it is impossible to reverse our collective impact without the cooperation of big business. With supply chains spanning multiple continents, these corporate empires do more damage a day than one person can in a lifetime. But the future is looking bright, as many of these corporations are now taking responsibility and making serious strides towards sustainable practises.
One largest chain restaurants on the planet, any change made by this company has a significant impact on the environment. Recently the company has switched its iconic straws to paper across their UK stores. They’ve also committed to eliminating foam packaging globally, implementing 100% recycled packaging and adding recycling bins at all stores by 2025. Serving 68 million customers daily, these fundamental eco-policies could soon see the golden arches turn green.
Single-use coffee cups are a huge contributor to waste and due to their inner plastic linings, they are not easily recyclable. Starbucks is tackling this problem from a number of angles. The company has reduced the amount of raw materials needed to make their cups, saving the equivalent of 700,000 units per month. They also have implemented a discount scheme for customers who bring their own mug and a small surcharge for those choosing single-use. Finally, a new cup specific recycling program is being trialled with the aim of delivering uncontaminated, used paper cups to specific recycling facilities.
Heavy investors into clean energy, IKEA owns 23 wind farms and 700,000 solar panels. Added to this, the company have committed 1.13 billion dollars to other renewable energy and climate projects around the world. IKEA also has a robust recycling program, collecting cardboard at stores and distribution centres to use as filling for some pieces of furniture. Used plastic film is also gathered to be remade into desk mats. ‘Second life’ stores are a new venture being trialled to encourage customers to resell their old items instead of sending them to landfill. To top it off, even their famous meatballs now have a vegan option!
Around 30% of all greenhouse gases are the result of transportation with cars being one of the main culprits. Toyota is currently the largest producer of electrified vehicles in the world and was the first company to really popularise hybrid technology. The auto giant is also investing heavily in hydrogen fuel cells to create a vehicle that is truly emission free.
Johnson & Johnson
This multinational has had sustainability as part of their credo since 1943 and have done much to offset their environmental impact since. They were one of the first organisations to phase out microbeads across their product range, achieving this in 2017. Future green goals include converting all product packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. They have also patented new technology that looks at the potential impact of product ingredients on the environment. The tool is intended to help manufacturers make eco-conscious choices when designing new products.