Top 15 Companies Tackling Climate Change
A 2019 survey of 1000 employees at large US companies found that 75% of millennial employees prefer a smaller salary over working at a company that is unsustainable. More than 70% of respondents said they were more likely to choose to work at a company with a strong environmental agenda, with millennials — who will make up three-quarters of the workforce by 2025 — being more likely to do so.
Another survey conducted in 2016 had similar results. Nearly two-thirds won’t take a job if the company does not have strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) values.
This goes to show that employees value CSR and a sustainable company does not only attract talent but retains them as well.
Let us now look at the companies working towards a greener planet by fighting climate change.
Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is a leading company in the tech industry. In 2007, Alphabet became a carbon-neutral company.
In 2017, it decided to match its total electricity consumption with renewable energy by investing in projects amounting to 5.5GW of renewable energy worldwide. This allowed Alphabet to create a deficit of about five million tons of carbon dioxide each year.
By the year 2030, Alphabet aims to be the first major company worldwide to use carbon-free energy, working its way towards tackling climate change.
2. Beyond Meat
Beyond Meat develops faux-meat products using plant-based ingredients to reduce the environmental impacts of traditionally raised meat and dairy.
They make plant-based nutrition products using ingredients like pea protein, coconut oil, and canola oil. These ingredients have a smaller environmental impact compared to animal-based options.
A study by the University of Michigan found that Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger generates 90% less greenhouse gas emissions, requires 46% less energy, has more than 99% less impact on water scarcity and 93% less impact on land use than a standard quarter pounder (~113g) of U.S. beef.
With growing demand for plant-based alternatives in the market, Beyond Meat is undoubtedly predicted to rise in popularity.
The next company on our list is information technology giant, HP. HP has made its work against climate change one of its main goals in the coming decades.
HP has committed to using recycled and renewable materials as well as reused products and parts for 75% of its total annual product and packaging content (by weight) by the year 2030.
The company aims to be carbon neutral in its operations by 2025 and reduce scope 1, 2 and 3 of greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, compared to 2019 levels, by 2030.
In recent years, Unilever brands have reduced their carbon footprint by 50% and aim to go carbon-negative by 2030. Till now, the company has reduced 65% of its carbon emission.
It has 400 brands worldwide, of which 26 use 100% sustainable materials. It adopted a sustainable agriculture code in 2018, focusing on utilising ecologically sustainable raw materials for its products.
Unilever also supports environmental-friendly waste disposal mechanisms by opting for reusable and recyclable materials.
5. Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson is the parent company of brands such as Neutrogena, Aveeno, Johnson’s, etc. One major commitment the company took towards tackling climate change was to switch to 100% reusable, recyclable, and compostable packaging by 2025.
Currently, it is powered by 35% renewable energy and aims to increase this to 100% by 2050.
Johnson & Johnson is well-known for its environmental activism and efforts against climate change, having been recognised on the Carbon Disclosure Project’s climate change A list.
Johnson & Johnson has committed to eliminating plastic microbeads from all of its products. In addition, it supports climate mitigation efforts that affect 60 million people globally.
Tesla is an electric automobile manufacturer that completely stands on the pillars of sustainability. It has not only built over a million electric cars but also made them fashionable. According to Tesla, in 2020 its electric vehicles saved 5 million metric tons of carbon emissions.
Another initiative Tesla has taken is applying the Responsible Minerals Initiative’s Extended Minerals Reporting Template to data collected from their suppliers in order to ensure a sustainable supply chain.
Microsoft plans to shift to 100% renewable energy by 2025 and successfully list as a carbon-negative company by 2030. It decided to increase its internal carbon emissions fee to $40 per metric ton from 2021. By 2050, it hopes to offset all carbon generated since its establishment in 1975.
The company plans to use renewable energy for all new buildings and become 100% zero-waste in the future.
Other efforts to tackle climate change include harnessing the power of AI to remove carbon from the atmosphere while reducing the negative environmental impacts of farming.
Apple has been acknowledged by Greenpeace as the world’s most eco-friendly tech company from 2015 to 2017, proving its status as an industry leader for sustainable manufacturing. Every company facility of Apple, including offices, stores, data centres, etc., is carbon-neutral since 2020. It plans to do the same for its products by 2030.
Apple has invested almost $300 million in a project called China Clean Energy Fund that supports renewable energy development.
In terms of waste disposal, Apple has been certified 100% zero waste since 2018 for final assembly facilities of certain products.
Mastercard has pledged to achieve net zero status by 2050. It aims to achieve this by focusing on decarbonising its operations and supply chain. The company has already achieved 100% renewable energy in 2020.
The company has established a Priceless Planet Coalition that aims to restore 100 million trees by 2025. This is done in collaboration with over 40 partners and environmental organisations Conservation International and World Resources Institute.
The ‘Wildlife Impact Card’ programme initiated by the company in collaboration with Conservation International aims to help protect and restore wildlife habitats around the world.
Perhaps the most notable effort would be tying executive bonuses to their ESG initiatives. The aim is to encourage and reward efforts that help achieve their goals.
Dell was the first company in their industry to use renewable, biodegradable packaging made from sustainably sourced bamboo. For shipment, they use recycled materials like cardboard and molded paper pulp.
IBM has set an ambitious goal of achieving net-zero by 2030, unlike most companies who aim to do by 2050. Some steps it plans to take include reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 65% by 2025 compared to a 2010 base.
It offers a Product Take Back Program to reduce waste and create a circular economy. Furthermore, the company has been transparent about its scope 3 emissions in areas such as business travel and use of sold products, which is a big step towards achieving its net-zero goal.
12. Goldman Sachs
Investment and banking firm Goldman Sachs aims to help clients accelerate their climate transition by deploying $750 billion across investing, financing and advisory services by 2030. Within a year of this announcement, they are $156 billion closer to their total goal.
Renewable energy accounts for a third of Goldman Sachs’ global power capacity. In terms of tackling climate change, the company is on the path to achieve net zero in their financing activities by 2050.
13. Cisco Systems
Cisco’s commitment to tackling climate change is evident from its move towards a circular economy. It has signed the Capital Equipment Pledge whereby it pledged 100% product return rates.
The company offers a Product Takeback and Reuse Program that reuses and recycles over 99% of products returned. The program allows users to return products that have reached the end-of-use at no cost.
Cisco has also announced that it will invest $100 million in projects that help fight climate change.
Retail giant Nestlé has laid out a roadmap to achieve net zero by 2050. This involves halving emissions by 2030. They plan to make their operations more sustainable through research & development, technology, and innovation.
Some actions they will take include launching more products that are environmentally friendly and healthier, supporting regenerative agriculture to decrease emissions and using sustainable packaging. Nestlé has also pledged to make one of the world’s most popular chocolate brands, KitKat, carbon neutral by 2025.
As the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, Amazon plans to use 100% renewable energy for all of its operations by 2025. This is 5 years ahead of its original target.
Amazon introduced the Frustration-Free Packaging program to offer more sustainable packaging that is fully recyclable without compromising product protection.
The companies highlighted above have committed to bettering the environment through their actions. Taking green initiatives, promoting the usage of renewable resources, and making changes in their supply chain system are just some steps that these corporations have taken.
Climate change is not something that a single company can tackle alone. It requires cooperation and collaboration from companies all around the world. Larger companies have the ability to leverage on economies of scale and they can transfer these benefits to efforts that help smaller organisations tackle climate change.