In a world drastically impacted by the effects of climate change, sustainability has become an important part of daily life. In a survey conducted by McKinsey & Co., 72% of respondents reported buying more environmentally friendly fashion products than they did five years ago. And 81% said they expected to buy even more over the next five years. However, individuals can only do so much to reduce waste, which is why consumers look to sustainable companies and businesses to pave the way for a brighter, cleaner future.
Sustainable business practices
It’s clear that sustainable products and practices are important to consumers, but what exactly makes an entire company sustainable? Some sustainable business practices include:
- Installing energy efficient lighting
- Using solar energy
- Recycling e-waste
- Treating and reusing wastewater
- Incorporating recycled materials into products
- Creating a digital workplace to reduce paper waste
From computer software to raw materials to the food on our shelves, each and every company we buy products from has the opportunity to change the way business is done by employing sustainable business practices.
Each year, Corporate Knights ranks the world’s most sustainable corporations. Let’s take a closer look at those companies and what they’re doing to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Autodesk was voted the third most sustainable company in the world for 2022, according to Corporate Knights. Founded in 1982, Autodesk provides software that empowers their customers to find solutions and make progress in all aspects. Their technology spans from architecture and engineering to product design and construction to media and entertainment. Along with being known for their sustainability efforts, Autodesk is also regularly voted one of the best places to work by their employees.
Autodesk claims that sustainability is about creating technology that improves productivity, supports innovators, and leads by example. They power their facilities, cloud services, and events with 100% renewable energy. In both 2021 and 2022, Autodesk neutralized their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. When investing in up-and-coming innovators, the Autodesk Foundation chooses those with the ability to dramatically reduce greenhouse emissions and help low-resource communities that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
McCormick & Company
You may recognize this next one from the spice bottles on grocery store shelves. Voted the fourteenth most sustainable company in the world in 2022 by Corporate Knights, McCormick & Company prides itself on being one of the top 50 companies for diversity for the sixth year in a row.
Because their supply chain is sourced from over 85 different counties, McCormick emphasizes the importance of giving back to the community. They usually pay farmers a premium or bonus incentive for sustainable or Rainforest Alliance-Certified™ products. In India, they have invested in four reverse osmosis systems to bring clean water to nearly 20 thousand local community members. And in Indonesia, they have invested in vanilla and black pepper nurseries to provide free or subsidized seedlings to the community.
Ranking number fifteen on the list, just after McCormick & Company, is Schnitzer Steel. On their website, you can find a sustainability roadmap, where Schnitzer outlines their goals in terms of people, the planet, and profits. By 2050, they plan to achieve net zero GHG emissions for all operations—all while maintaining 100% net carbon-free electricity use.
In order to mitigate their environmental impact, Schnitzer’s innovative infrastructure cuts GHG emissions and recycles storm water. They also use sustainable technologies that recover and recycle materials, sending less to landfills. Richard Peach, the executive vice present, CFO, and CSO of Schnitzer, says on their website, “Advancing sustainable business practices and further integrating sustainability throughout our operations have been foundational elements of our success.”
Sustainability and you
Companies like Autodesk, McCormick & Company, and Schnitzer Steel are leaders of the pack in terms of sustainable technology and business practices. You might be wondering what you can do to fight the effects of climate change. Buying from online farmer’s markets is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and support local businesses. You can also spend less time with electronics, or help your kids reduce their screentime. If you’re already creating a sustainable lifestyle, check out CenturyLink’s guide to teleworking from a van.
Have more ideas for how companies can be more sustainable? Drop us a comment below.