Earth Day may be recognized on April 22nd of every year, but its impact has a global reach that, if practiced by everyone, could make a huge impact on our future. While climate change is on the forefront of so many minds, younger generations are making their voices heard to save the Earth and major global companies are listening! You, too, can make an impact.
Earth Day started in 1970 when a Wisconsin senator became increasingly concerned about the environment after seeing the consequences of a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. At the time, many were worried about industries that were causing air and water pollution throughout the country and around the world. The potential dangers to human health also became an increasing concern. That senator worked with a young activist who took the movement globally.
Earth Day received national media attention and sparked a movement that would eventually lead to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
The movement has grown tremendously throughout the past decades and today is recognized by more than a billion people every year who take action towards changing human behavior and saving our planet.
You Have the Power
While we can all make changes to help protect the environment, major companies are quickly learning their consumers expect more from them. YOU have the power to make the change. They are listening.
A growing number of consumers are demanding these companies make changes to how they operate, from manufacturing to sales. It is pushing companies to take a hard look at their business models and move towards sustainability.
According to Business Wire, “85% of consumers have become ‘greener’ in their purchasing in recent years.” Consumers are seeing the importance of sustainability and are even willing to pay more for a product that is eco-friendly. The biggest push comes from Millennials and Generation Z who will often choose a sustainable alternative when available. Older generations may be less likely to do so. Experts say companies who ignore these demands and do not make changes towards sustainability may face reputational impacts and a loss of business in the future.
Push Towards Sustainability
While thousands of companies are making shifts towards protecting the Earth, here are some examples of major brands making a difference. These are brands that you, more than likely, may use daily or often.
The Walt Disney Company has strived to be environmentally sustainable for decades, including some long-term goals they are striving to reach. For example, Disney has committed to using carbon-free electricity in all of its direct operations by 2030. They are also minimizing emissions on new projects with a focus on energy-efficient buildings. In addition, they are reducing waste with an effort to become zero waste in all operations in the future.
The company is known for purchasing Fair Trade Certified and Certified organic coffee and is also working on LED certifications for its new stores.
According to Smart Cities Dive, “By creating ‘green’ stores, the company is able to reduce operating costs as well as minimize the impact of business practices on the environment. In addition, the company has a green building strategy that includes adjusting temperatures for its air-conditioned stores from the standard that is 72o to 75o F and purchasing cabinetry that is made using 90% post-industrial materials while incorporating low-flow water valves.”
3. Ford Motor Company
Auto companies have a reputation for being a big culprit of emissions that affect our environment and have an impact on human health. Vehicle emissions left in the air also referred to as smog, can aggravate asthma and increase the sensitivity to respiratory illness.
According to Ford, they plan to use 100 percent locally sourced renewable energy – hydropower, geothermal, wind, or solar – for all of its manufacturing plants globally by 2035, with the goal of becoming fully carbon neutral by 2050.
These are just a few of the companies making an impact. The list of sustainability-driven companies is long and includes other big names like Nike, Johnson & Johnson, and eBay…to name a few.
Remember, corporate strategies are changing and you, the consumer, could be a catalyst for change. Supporting businesses and products that reflect core values and efforts to protect the Earth through sustainable practices could soon be the norm, not the exception.
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