10 Efforts to Make You Green (With Envy)
Although the megastore giant often gets a bad rap, Wal-Mart stores boast some of the retail sector’s most groundbreaking environmental technologies and strategies. Such initiatives include high-efficiency refrigeration units, biodiesel and hybrid trucks, and locally grown produce. Wal-Mart is currently introducing solar-powered stores in select locations such as Hawaii and California.
2. Vancouver Olympic Games
Environment is the third pillar of the Olympic Movement, in addition to Sport and Culture. Rainwater is reused at the Richmond Olympic Oval; the Olympic and Paralympic Villages sport green roofs; and wood debris from mountain-venue sites are donated to regional habitat-restoration projects.
3. Whole Foods
Customers are encouraged to have an appetite for information. In addition to its bulk bins and “nickel-per-bag” program, Whole Foods launched Whole Trade Guarantee, which emphasizes ethical and social responsibility concerning imported products. The eventual goal is to import only from countries with Whole Trade–certified products.
4. Hewlett-Packard (HP)
Named Newsweek’s Top Green Company in 2009, HP not only has decreased the energy consumption of its laptop and desktop computers, but has worked with select supplier Wal-Mart to introduce new packaging that enables up to three laptops to fit in a box instead of just one.
5. Procter & Gamble (P&G)
With products and packaging as one of its key sustainability goals, P&G has led the way in reducing product-related waste. From condensed laundry detergent to double-roll toilet paper, P&G alleviates customers’ trash loads as well as their ecofootprints.
A longtime advocate for sustainability, the company first formalized environmental policies in 1971. IBM estimates that energy-conservation projects between 1990 and 2008 eliminated the need for 4.9 billion kilowatt hours of electricity.
The athletic brand’s efforts include an entire line dedicated to sustainable footwear. The Considered Design shoes use materials found primarily within 200 miles of Nike’s factory, use 80 percent less solvent than other Nike products, and feature hemp and polyester materials as well as recycled rubber.
It’s hard not to like a company with a business model based on minimal packaging, the United States Postal Service, and recycling. The company says that, if all of its members drove to and from a video-rental store, they’d consume 800,000 gallons of gasoline and release more than 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
9. Wells Fargo
The financial giant has put its money where its mouth is, providing $5 billion in financing for green businesses since 2005, of which $1.65 billion has been for solar and wind projects and $3 billion for green buildings.
With Dell’s product take-back and recycling programs, customers recycle their old computers for free. What’s more, the company takes care of more than its own hardware—Dell offers to handle the recycling of any laptops or PCs its products are replacing, regardless of brand.