Finding a natural solution
Fifty-five percent of those surveyed are willing to pay more for products and services from companies who pledged to take real, meaningful steps toward sustainability, according to a 2014 Nielsen survey. And as the demand for sustainable goods continues to increase, these early adopters have positioned themselves at the front of the market. From fashion and manufacturing to home goods, here are just four eco-friendly companies who are extremely well positioned to handle the growing consumer demand for sustainable products.
Photo courtesy Depositphotos.
There are companies that make products, and then there are companies that make the materials that are in those products. When you make a material like rubber or plastic, which is a necessary component of nearly everything, even a small shift toward sustainability can have a huge effect. O-ring manufacturer Apple Rubber has proven itself more than willing to make the move. They have begun researching a Brazillian sugar cane-based ethanol product that would greatly reduce their demand for crude oil. This organic rubber would also reduce their carbon footprint without any compromise in quality.
The Honest Company
Household cleaning products can have a hugely detrimental effect on the environment, not only by way of the materials and practices needed to manufacture them, but also in the waste created when they are disposed. Based out of Santa Monica, California, The Honest Company is looking to change that. It has created a set of strict guidelines for all of its products that ensure that each one that hits store shelves is safe and sustainable. This starts with manufacturing, where the company relies almost exclusively on sustainably harvested, renewable materials. And once the products leave The Honest Company’s entirely solar-powered headquarters, they travel almost solely by ground shipping to stores across the county. Why? Because it uses six times less energy than flying.
New Belgium Brewing
Started by Kim Jordan in 1991, this Fort Collins, Colorado, company has since managed to become the fourth largest craft beer brewer in the county. And remarkably, New Belgium Brewing has done it while maintaining a reputation as one of the most sustainable companies in the beer-making industry. From early on, Jordan was obsessed with data, and that carries through today. New Belgium tracks all of its energy consumption and waste production, and the company has worked diligently to find ways to reuse or compost almost all of its waste products. New Belgium is also a huge promoter of green living for its employees and customers. It provides bikes and Priuses for employees who are travelling near their home facility. And their traveling Tour De Fat beer festival hits the road every summer to educate the public on the value of commuting by bike.
Since opening in 1975, this popular fashion brand has held a commitment for implementing sustainable practices into every aspect of its nearly 2,000 stores. From the actual design of the stores to the cardboard used in its packaging, Zara has managed to reduce its carbon footprint by almost 20 percent in recent years. This eco-conscious commitment carries over to the actual clothing as well, which are constructed of organic cotton and delivered to stores in bio-diesel trucks. Zara also instituted a strict recycling policy for one of the most wasteful items in retail stores: hangers. It’s a simple move that will undoubtedly pay huge dividends for the environment.
Aaron Rote is a Chicago freelance writer and poet specializing in quick wit and quick turnarounds.