Sustainability Inspiration from Environmentally Friendly Companies
This week I want to talk about environmentally friendly companies that follow a path of sustainability that provide vision and inspiration to build eco-friendly products. The goal, of this blog, is to study what these companies have done in order to achieve tangible targets of sustainability and make serious efforts toward reducing the negative impact of their production on the environment.
Understanding a green business’s vision and the way they look at its sustainable products is a great template to follow. Tracing in their footsteps will be a great way to set the direction to incorporate sustainability successfully the way they did, in our businesses.
A company that has taken huge strides in this direction is Patagonia, an American outdoor clothing brand. In September 2022, the founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard announced that they were giving away ownership of their company to the Earth. This statement seems like hyperbole, but that is exactly what they have done — they have given away shares to their company, valued at $3 billion, to a trust that will ensure that their values of environmental protection are preserved.
They transferred all of the non-voting shares of the company to a non-profit fighting the effects of climate change. Even the profits of the company will be transferred to the non-profit as well, so as to aid nature conservation and protection.
Chouinard wrote, “Earth is now our only shareholder.”
While this is both a very dramatic and effective measure, it is also not something that is practical for a lot of businesses whose aim is survival and continued existence, who aim to build capital and influence and widen their consumer base. So what, apart from the philosophy behind their most recent move, can we take as learnings from them?
“Don’t Buy This Jacket” Campaign
Well, this isn’t their first foray into environmentalism and sustainability in production. On Black Friday, a famously consumerist occasion where corporations encourage consumers to buy excessive quantities of products by offering massively slashed prices and huge deals, Patagonia took a different direction—they put out an advertisement that stated in large, bold letters, “Don’t Buy This Jacket” in an attempt to address consumerist tendencies, and to reinforce the idea of buying things out of need and not because of advertisements and subliminal messaging encouraging us to buy things we don’t need or even care for.
Patagonia is very serious about the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. In 2005, they started the Common Threads Recycling Program, providing customers guides to fix and repair clothes on their own, and also providing an affordable repair service. They also created a second-hand market for worn clothes to be re-sold.
Are these bad business practices? Experience shows that these strategies have actually increased their consumer base and sales, with the Don’t Buy This Jacket resulting in a 30% increase in sales. While that didn’t align with their goals for the project, it clearly establishes that transparency and prioritizing environmentalism goes a long way towards establishing a loyal customer base and allowing the business to grow in the long term.
Based in Germany, Infantium Victoria is a luxury children’s clothing brand started in 2014 that focuses on the use of ethically sourced fabrics. They were given a Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certificate, and process most of their products at GOTS-certified factories.
Beyond environmental sustainability, Infantium Victoria also focuses on a transparent supply chain and ethical labour sourcing, along with payment of minimum wage across its supply chain.
These factors have led to this brand carving out its own niche customer base who appreciate the focus on slow fashion and the care given to designing products. They explain that they choose their production partners after an independent study of their waste management, sustainability practices and labour practices. They have partnered with production houses in Germany, Spain and India, creating an international production network rooted in their values.
Fair Trade Cashmere
The Switzerland-based brand Fair Trade Cashmere (FTC) works with goat farmers from Shaanxi, China. It places great emphasis on the ethical sourcing of raw materials.
FTC has developed a fully vertically integrated supply chain. What does this mean? They have direct ownership of farms, factories and facilities in Shaanxi, Hebei and Europe. Therefore, they can place very high standards for the care of the goats that their cashmere comes from, along with ensuring living wage and social benefits for the workers in the supply chain and their families. They have been certified Made in Green by Oeko-Tex and Climate Neutral by Climate Partner.
The transparency of their supply chain and ethical sourcing of raw materials is not only exciting for an increasingly sustainability-conscious consumer base worldwide, but it also allows them to control business costs so as to have a financially sustainable source of prized, high-quality, ethically sourced raw material.
Thus, FTC is a great example of how sustainability practices and developing ethical labour supply chains result in the formation of long-lasting production networks and the roots of an ever-growing consumer base.
Brands around the world have much to learn in terms of steps and strategies to incorporate into their businesses to make them environmentally friendly companies, not just in terms of a buzzword, but also why it works to ensure the longevity of the business. There is also the case to be made that, given the state of the climate and environment currently, and increasing climate legislation worldwide, many businesses will not be able to survive about 10 years from now if they are not able to keep up with these new needs of ensuring sustainability in business practices. Here, Patagonia’s mission statement is particularly inspiring —
“Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
1. Which company is the most environmentally friendly?
The title of “most environmentally friendly company” can be subjective and can change over time. It is important to consider various factors such as the company’s environmental policies, sustainability practices, and impact on the environment. Some well-known environmentally friendly companies include Patagonia, Tesla, and The Body Shop.
Green companies can benefit the environment, society, and their bottom line. They can reduce their carbon footprint, conserve resources, increase brand reputation and customer loyalty, and potentially save money through reduced waste and increased efficiency.
4. Why do companies need to be environmentally-friendly?
Companies need to be environmentally-friendly to ensure they are responsible citizens, meet regulations, and address the growing demand for environmentally conscious products and services. It is also important for companies to reduce their impact on the environment for future generations.
5. How do companies become environmentally friendly?
Companies can become environmentally friendly by implementing eco-friendly policies, using renewable energy, reducing waste, using sustainable materials, and regularly reviewing and updating their sustainability practices.
6. What makes a company environmentally sustainable?
A company is considered environmentally sustainable if it minimizes its impact on the environment and promotes sustainability in its operations and products. This can include reducing waste and emissions, conserving resources, and promoting environmentally conscious practices.
7. Is Patagonia a good brand?
Patagonia is widely considered a good brand due to its commitment to environmental sustainability and social responsibility. The company uses sustainable materials and practices in its products and operations and is transparent about its environmental impact.
8. Why is Patagonia brand so famous?
Patagonia is famous for its commitment to environmental sustainability and social responsibility. The company is known for its high-quality outdoor clothing and gear, as well as its efforts to minimize its impact on the environment and promote sustainability.
9. Environmentally Friendly Companies in UK
Some well-known environmentally friendly companies in the UK include The Body Shop, Method, and B Corps such as Ecotricity and The Bio Group.