Corporate sustainability pledges are on the rise, and major corporations are racing to keep up, and demonstrate to customers, employees and investors alike that they are willing to prioritise the environmental agenda. Every week or so, companies, both big and small, are releasing big, bold sustainability pledges that certainly sound exciting - but might be a little difficult to get your head around.
In this post, we dive into some of the most interesting sustainability pledges that have been made recently, and ask the question: Are these corporations doing enough? And are they doing it fast enough?
Google: CEO of Google and Alphabet Sundar Pichai announces Google’s most ambitious climate-positive plan yet. (Mind you, they’ve been carbon neutral since 2007 and in 2017, they matched their energy usage with 100% renewable energy credits)
Well now, they are taking it a few steps further. In their third decade, Google is committing to operate on 24/7 carbon-free energy in their data centres and campuses worldwide by 2030. That means that every time you use Google’s services, they will be powered by clean energy.
They are investing in technologies, such as pairing wind and solar power sources together and increasing battery storage, to help their partners and people all over the world to make sustainable choices. They are also working on ways to apply artificial intelligence to optimise electricity demand and forecasting.
Google is investing in manufacturing regions to enable 5 GW of carbon-free energy, helping 500 cities reduce their carbon emissions. They expect this move to spur more than $5 billion in clean energy investments, avoid the amount of emissions equal to taking more than 1 million cars off the road each year, and create more than 8,000 clean energy jobs.
Google estimates that their progressive commitments will directly generate more than 20,000 new jobs in clean energy and associated sustainable industries, in the United States, and around the world, by 2025. 5 years from now! Woah. This is certainly something to look forward to.
They have eliminated their carbon legacy, covering all of their operational emissions since they became carbon neutral in 2007, by purchasing carbon offsets.
Their Environmental Insights Explorer will enable 100 cities to better understand their building and transportation carbon emissions, and maximise their renewable energy use, by informing them on how they can effectively use clean energy. Beyond this, they are committing to help 500+ cities and local governments reduce 1 gigaton of carbon emissions annually by 2030.
You can read their entire statement here.
Google’s climate friendly commitments are certainly ambitious, and perhaps the most likely to have a positive environmental impact, considering their commitments to have all of their services run on clean energy.
Lego: Lego has revealed plans to invest up to $400m to accelerate sustainability efforts, which includes replacing single-use plastic packaging with paper.
Denmark-based toy company Lego’s investment will facilitate both long-term investments and on-going costs. In 2018, they announced their plans to phase out single-use disposable plastics and to shift to 100% packaging by 2005. The company will replace the single-use plastic baggies used to package loose bricks in Lego boxes.
By 2030, they aim to have all its products produced using sustainable materials, and they will pilot Forest Stewardship Council-certified recyclable paper bags in boxes.
On the topic of CO2 emissions from making the LEGO bricks, LEGO has maintained a 100% renewable energy milestone due to the investments in offshore wind in Germany and the UK. Energy outputs from investments in renewables currently exceeds the energy used at our factories, offices, and stores.
While this is all well and good, the company is still producing a hefty amount of carbon emissions, and could do more to focus on reducing their emissions from production, rather than trying to make up for it by sponsoring renewable energy projects.
Adidas: German sportswear retailer, Adidas, has launched a range of sustainable running shoes, with vegan and recycled fabric options, check them out here.
Adidas has also set targets for 2020 and beyond, including:
In 2020, adidas will produce 15 to 20 million pairs of shoes using recycled plastic waste from beaches and coastal regions, compared to more than eleven million pairs in 2019, five million in 2018 and one million in 2017.
The first fully recyclable running shoe “Futurecraft Loop” has been in the test phase since 2019. The market launch is planned for 2021. adidas is also working on the development of bio-fabricated materials for sports apparel and presented first prototypes for tennis wear in 2019.
From 2021 onwards, packaging used to transport products from the manufacturing countries to the store shelves will also be made from recycled materials. At the same time, adidas is testing a recycling loop for transport packaging.
By 2030, as a signatory to the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, adidas has committed to reduce both its own and its suppliers’ greenhouse gas emissions compared to 2017 by 30 percent. By 2050 adidas aims to achieve climate neutrality.
The Clean Classics collection includes different editions of shoes, including the Superstar, Stan Smith, Continental 80, and Supercourt styles, all of which are being remade for 2020 with Adidas’ new environmental commitments in mind - ending plastic waste.
Overall, not a bad week for sustainable initiatives. Corporations have caught up to the fact that consumers want products that are better for the planet, and they are certainly making an effort to create more planet-friendly practices.
But the need for swift climate action is stronger than ever! Along with Google’s climate-positive plan, we’ve also recently experienced...
1. Northern California’s worst wildfires to date, not to mention that both Lebanon and Syria have had a harsh wildfire season
2. Torrential rains and floods that have killed at least 65 people and destroyed more than 14,000 homes in Sudan.
3. The US, the world’s second biggest emitter, is set to leave the Paris Climate Agreement on November 4th.
We’ve still got work to do, and corporations making bold planet-friendly commitments is extremely important if we are to preserve the world for future generations. Any questions or comments, feel free to join the discussions via our Instagram channel @thecaptureapp or say hi to the team via email at email@example.com