By: Aidan Das
Climate change and the need for conserving natural resources has caused many corporations to realize the importance of reducing wastes, their carbon footprints and protecting the environment. Here are four large companies that have been initiating sustainability goals and plans:
Based on Chipotle’s 2019 Sustainability Report, they have diverted 47 percent of their waste (and have a goal of 50 percent by 2020) to be composted, recycled, or turned into energy. They have also started a program with Revolution Bag to convert used gloves into trash bags that can be reused in their restaurants. Chipotle has also been researching and working on ways to increase their use of renewable energy sources and decrease their emissions through carbon offsets.
Recently Chipotle has launched a footprint calculator that shows its customers how much water was saved, antibiotics avoided, how much less carbon is produced, and the improved soil health that comes with food they order compared to the averages of the restaurant industry. Chipotle is one of the first restaurants to show their customers this much detail about the environmental costs of the food it sells.
Chipotle also has a sustainable clothing collection. These clothes are made from organic cotton and dyed using leftover avocado pits from its restaurants. All proceeds from the clothing collection go to organizations that make farming and fashion more sustainable.
By 2030, Starbucks has goals to reduce its carbon emissions, water withdrawal, and waste by 50 percent. The specific goals and plans will be released on Starbucks’s 50th anniversary in 2021. The company also wants to become “resource positive” by sequestering more carbon than they emit and producing more clean water than they use.
Starbucks is currently eliminating waste with their strawless lid trial which is now going to be implemented in all its company-operated and licensed stores. The new lid cuts back on about nine percent of the plastic that came from the straw and flat lid they used to have.
LEGO has a goal to produce all of their bricks from sustainable materials by 2030 and create packaging that is made out of recycled or renewable materials by 2025. To reduce waste from old bricks, the company established a program called Replay where customers can send in their old bricks to be given to organizations like Teach for America and Boys & Girls Club of America. By 2025, LEGO wants to make sure that none of their waste from its factories, offices and stores is put into landfills.
- General Mills
General Mills has reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 14 percent since 2010 and have a goal to reduce them by an additional 30 percent by 2030. The company is committed to put into place regenerative agriculture practices on 1 million acres of land by 2030. Regenerative agriculture focuses on the ecosystem of the farm as a whole by restoring natural nutrient and water processes and increasing biodiversity, which helps increase the health of the soil. Some regenerative techniques include crop rotation, reduced tillage and the planting of cover crops.
These companies can be examples for other large (and small) companies on how to implement more sustainable practices. As more corporations feel the pressures from customers to change the way they manufacture their products, it is important that they are held accountable to their promises and are transparent about their progress in terms of sustainability.
Cover photo courtesy of Pixabay