Over the past few years, issues of sustainability and environmentalism have come to the forefront of discussions in the business world.
Whilst in the past sustainable business practices have perhaps conflicted with other business goals such as growth and profitability, shifting attitudes now mean that sustainability and profitability are no longer mutually exclusive; considering sustainability, both environmentally and economically, is now a vital part of business success.
Indeed, with more and more consumers demanding that companies do their bit for the environment and voting with their feet when it comes to consumer choice, sustainability is no longer an issue that businesses, whether big or small, can ignore. Indeed, according to the Ethical Consumer Markets Report 2019, the UK ethical market is worth around £41.1bn, almost 4 times larger than it was a mere 20 years ago, and is likely only set to expand going forward.
Yet it’s not just consumers that are driving this sustainability revolution. Change is also coming from the top, with business leaders and managers also taking an interest in sustainability. A study carried out by the Institute of Workplace & Facilities Management (IWFM) showed that attitudes towards sustainability are positive in the business world, with 74% of executive managers and 73% of middle managers considering sustainability to be “very important”.
But how do we go about implementing sustainable practices and policies? Why not follow the lead of these 10 sustainable companies.
While the Swedish furniture and homeware giant may be best known for its affordable flat-packs, IKEA is now making a name for itself as a sustainable brand and business. Their People & Planet initiative was launched in 2012, focusing on three main areas: Healthy & Sustainable living, Circular & Climate positive and Fair & equal. Alongside sustainably and ethically sourcing resources and raw materials such as cotton and wood, IKEA also ensures sustainability in their supply chain by ensuring a safe and healthy work environment for its workers, as well as offering minimum wage and overtime compensation.
This sweet-smelling cosmetics company is dedicated to creating “a cosmetics revolution to save the planet” and considers everything from sourcing raw materials, manufacturing and transporting products to the way they operate shops and support communities and causes. Around 60% of Lush operations are already powered by renewable energy, with plans to achieve 100% in the future. Lush is also well on its way to becoming a zero-waste company, offering package free options to consumers, as well as more reusable packaging and their pot return program. With an aim to introduce zero waste at every stage of production, Lush is currently working with suppliers to reduce and reuse waste, with two of their seven manufacturing/distribution buildings already achieving zero waste (at ≥ 90% diversion rate).
Unilever is a multinational corporation that owns some of the world’s most popular brands. From Dove and Persil to Ben and Jerry’s and Marmite, Unilever produces a wide range of brands across food & refreshments, beauty & personal care and home care. The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan was launched in 2010 to set out sustainable goals to transform their business and value chain. It’s since become a benchmark for corporate sustainability and has helped Unilever make significant reductions in waste and pollution, all whilst increasing sustainable business practices, fairness in the workplace and access to health and hygiene.
Best known for their delicious smoothies and juices, Innocent Drinks is also making a name for itself as a sustainably operated company. Aiming to be carbon neutral by 2030, Innocent Drinks is aspiring to build the world’s first carbon-neutral factories. They already use recycled plastics to make their bottles and aim to make their bottles out of 100% renewable material by 2025 onwards. With all the fruit that goes into making their drinks, Innocent is also working with farmers to develop ethical and sustainable farming practices, with the goal of sourcing 100% of ingredients sustainably by 2023.
The restaurant chain of “Naturally Fast Food” is doing its bit for the planet by focusing on 3 areas: increasing the number of plants on the menu, renewable energy, and reducing the use of plastics. Beyond this, they’re now turning their attention to becoming a carbon-neutral company. All the Leon restaurants are powered by 100% green energy: a mix of wind, solar, hydro and anaerobic digestion. They’re also trying to reduce plastic waste, serving food in compostable boxes and bags and offering biodegradable and paper alternatives for cutlery and straws.
One of the world’s leading sustainable banks, Triodos Bank is on a mission to make money work for positive social, environmental, and cultural change. By only lending money to sustainable organisations, Triodos stakeholders can rest in the knowledge that their bank is making ethical investment choices. They also work hard to reduce their carbon footprint, managing to avoid 933 kilotonnes of CO2 in 2020 and offsetting 100% of CO2 emissions that can’t be avoided.
This innovative company is revolutionising energy production with its unique product; an energy tile that harnesses the power of every footstep to provide clean, off-grid electricity. Designed to be deployed in areas of high footfall, such as transport hubs, retail spaces, and events, Pavegen is aiming to produce sustainable energy to help power the world around them. Indeed, Pavegen technology was deployed in Broadgate London, where the energy generated from footfall was used to power lighting for a local homeless charity.
When it comes to sustainability, it’s not always about the environment; it’s also about the people and labour that are part of a company’s supply chain. Tony’s Chocolonely not only aims to provide buyers with tasty chocolate but also with an ethically sourced product that’s 100% slavery-free. Sadly, modern slavery and illegal child labour still exist on cocoa farms today, something which Tony’s Chocolonely aims to put a stop to by raising awareness, leading by example, and inspiring others to act. They also pay an additional premium to cocoa farmers to ensure they earn a living income and can provide for their families.
Too Good to Go is a food waste app that connects surplus food from local stores and restaurants with buyers looking for a great price. It’s estimated that 1/3 of food produced across the world goes to waste each year and that it’s responsible for 8% of all greenhouse gas emissions. This app aims to inspire and empower not only its users but also the general public to take action against food waste, raising awareness about the issue, whilst using the app to minimise food waste in the here and now.
Plastic pollution is one of the biggest issues our planet currently faces. Single-use plastics are a particular scourge on the planet; they’re used once but end up sticking around for decades or even hundreds of years. This is where Vegware can step in, offering plant-based alternatives made from renewable, lower carbon and recycled and reclaimed materials. Offering a range of food container options including boxes, cups and bags, as well as cutlery, straws and napkins, Vegware is helping to tackle the plastic problem head on with their products.
If your business is looking to embrace more sustainable ways of working going forward, why not consider switching to a green tariff with Tariff.com? Thanks to increasing popularity, many green energy suppliers can now match or even undercut the prices of fossil fuel providers, providing a cheaper, cleaner alternative to your current supplier.
To help your business get the best deal on green energy, Tariff.com can offer detailed, independent price comparisons. We also take care of switching supplier for you, so you can sit back and start benefitting from cost savings.
At Tariff, we’ve made a firm commitment to helping businesses of all sizes and industries go net-zero ahead of the Government’s 2050 target. As one of the UK’s leading energy switch providers, we’re in the ideal position to prepare your business for the future.
Whether you’re uncertain of how net-zero policies will impact your business, or you’re seeking a more affordable solution for your business’ green energy needs, we’ll provide a bespoke package that covers everything from finding the right provider, to organising all the paperwork, to finalising that switch over.
Get in touch today to find out more about how Tariff can help your business begin its green journey.