Moving towards an eco-friendly lifestyle as an individual is difficult enough; implementing it into the fabric of a company is a monumental feat. However, these companies have made it their mission to not only adopting sustainable business practices, but to further the cause of environmentally friendly lifestyles through their products and services as well.
1. New Belgium Brewing Company (Fort Collins, CO, USA)
One of the biggest craft brewing companies in the United States, New Belgium Brewing Company is also one of the most environmentally-friendly beer houses in the world. With their LEED certified compound in Fort Collins, CO and another one on the way in Asheville, NC, their production practices are approaching 100% waste diversion in addition to increasing self-power generation and aggressively reducing water usage (per Hectoliter of beer made).
2. Patagonia (Ventura, CA, USA)
Famously and tightly involved with major environmental groups, the Patagonia Clothing Company commits 1% of its total sales or 10% of its profits (whichever is more) to pro-environmental efforts. Unlike many major companies that boast their sustainable practices, Patagonia’s site posits them as a major work in progress. True to that form, the company also took out a Black Friday ad in the New York Times in 2011 telling customers not to buy their clothing due to concerns about their environmental footprint.
3. Namaste Solar (Boulder, CO, USA)
The second Colorado company on our list, Namaste Solar creates and sells solar panels with monthly payment plans that are less than an electric bill. Major companies like Microsoft, Toyota, Wal-Mart, and Johnson & Johnson incorporate their panels in their constructions. By building and supporting affordable solar energy and high-paying jobs in an employee-owned company, Namaste is one of the more forward-thinking voices in the medium-sized business space.
4. Alaska Structures (Anchorage, AK, USA)
A manufacturer of high-end fabric buildings for military, commercial, and medical purposes, Alaska Structures’ designs are made from steel or aluminum frames and polyvinyl chloride fabrics, eliminating construction waste and decreasing logistics costs for many large-scale industries like mining and natural gas production. While only some materials are recycled, the company’s structures can be insulated to any R-value and utilize a much lower volume of materials than traditional brick-and-mortar or fiberglass buildings.
5. Echale a tu Casa (Mexico City, Mexico)
One of the leaders in worldwide green home construction, Echale a tu Casa is a social housing construction company focused on sourcing local materials and including future residents in the construction process. Underserved populations and communities with housing deficits are their target audience, with 85% of their consumers included in that category.
6. Dolphin Blue (Dallas, TX, USA)
Calling themselves “The First and Only All-Green Online General Store,” Dolphin Blue was created in 1994 and offer products that made from a minimum of 20% recycled materials. Products they carry that do not have recycled material must have been made through sustainable manufacturing. Unlike other online retailers, Dolphin Blue’s packaging is made from 100% recycled material. In addition, the company promotes and supports education and awareness of sustainable business practices and waste reduction programs all around the world.
7. Green Roof Plants (Street, MD, USA)
A nursery aimed at the roof garden market, Green Roof Plants, as part of Emory Knoll Farms in northern Maryland, is the premier plant supplier for green and sustainable construction efforts across the United States, Canada, and overseas. Their model goes beyond rooftop nurseries, however – Green Roof Plants strives to educate building owners about alternative energy sources and energy recycling and creating buildings that not only have a reduced footprint, but actually benefit the ecosystem around them.
8. Method (San Francisco, CA, USA)
The name brand pioneer of green and environmentally safe cleaning products, Method was created with a philosophy of “clean” at every aspect of their business. From a LEED certified office space, transparent business practices, to their innovative non-hazardous chemical cleaning solutions, Method now offers 60 products that meet the Cradle to Cradle standard. Bottles and packaging are made from recycled materials and partnerships are made with reducing emissions at the forefront, even to the extent that Method’s delivery trucks run on biodiesel.
9. West Paw Design (Bozeman, MT, USA)
A manufacturer of eco-friendly products for dogs and cats, West Paw Design’s 70+ employees take pride in the fact that all of their products are made in the United States. Each item they make is non-toxic, FDA approved, and BPA and phthalate-free and tested by an outside party for verification purposes. A closed loop production process means each product can be sent back for recycling and West Paw Design even helped found the Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition to help other manufacturers grow their businesses in an eco-friendly way.
10. Acción Verde (Bogota, Cundinamarca, Colombia)
Created in 2007 in response to massive deforestation in Colombia, Acción Verde began by planting trees in order to offset the devastation caused by human activity. Their services have evolved to provide consultation services to individuals, companies, and organizations to reduce their environmental impact and improve the welfare of their workers. Acción Verde now focuses on water management, waste reduction, marine sustainability, and improved energy efficiency in the South American nation.
Feature image courtesy of Nicolás Boullosa