Sustainability is now a key driver in both innovation and economic prosperity. The old mindset of cheap, dirty development is eroding away and making room for more environmentally-friendly products and practices.
Why the change? Simply put, the consumer has spoken. Environmental concerns, both long and short term, are a hot talking point in politics and business, and corporations are racing to show the market that its products are good for the earth (or at the very least, not as bad).
It’s not just oil companies and global conglomerates that are making improvements, either. Even a company as unsuspecting as Heinz Ketchup drives home its commitment to sustainability on its website, and Apple Rubber writes about the importance of sustainable manufacturing on its company blog. The point being, companies are taking notice, and it’s thanks to some major players who paved the way.
Elon Musk, founder of PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla Motors, is in the business of sustainability. Tesla manufactures all-electric luxury cars that produce zero carbon emissions on the road. Although Telsa isn’t the first company to build an electric car, it is the most successful. It sold more than 10,000 of the Model S, Tesla’s flagship sedan, in Q1 2015. That’s up 44 percent from last year.
But CEO Musk isn’t stopping at the road — he wants to free homes from carbon-based energy, too. Tesla recently announced a new battery for the home, called the Powerwall, that can store 10 kWh (enough to power a single-family home for one night, according to Musk). The battery can act as a replacement for a backup generator in case of a power outage or parlay with solar panels to help homes go off the grid.
Not to be confused with Apple Rubber (mentioned above), the creator of beloved products like the iPhone, iPad and MacBook, manufactures millions of consumer electronic devices every year and carries a big responsibility toward corporate sustainability. Apple houses several data centers and manufacturing plants in the United States, both of which consume a ton of energy; however, they are 100 percent powered by renewable energy. The company is also building a solar farm in China to counteract the energy its production facilities use abroad.
Tech isn’t the only industry committing to more sustainable practices. The popular food chain Chipotle prides itself on commitment to locally-grown, ethically-treated, non-GMO food.
How serious is Chipotle to this commitment? It didn’t bluff when one of its pork producers was caught mistreating its pigs during an inspection of one of its farms. Chipotle cut ties with the producer until it could prove all its pigs were ethically treated, even though 1/3 of all Chipotle’s did not offer any pork during this process.
Chipotle also recently announced it would no longer use any genetically-modified food in its restaurants. The debate over whether or not GMO food is harmful to the environment or our health is still contentious, but Chipotle weighed its opinion by cutting out GMOs entirely.
The Honest Company
No one is more concerned for product safety than parents, so products made for children come under heavy scrutiny. Actress Jessica Alba created The Honest Company to sell parents peace of mind by offering all-natural, ethically-made and environmentally-friendly diapers, bottles and blankets. The foundation of the business is built on the premise of eco-friendly products, which has grown the company to more than $1 billion in value.
Content courtesy of SocialMonsters. Feature image courtesy of Gadgetmac