Each year on April 22, communities around the world celebrate Earth Day by cleaning up beaches, planting trees, and raising awareness to environmental issues threatening our planet.
With their influence that can be leveraged through brand exposure and access to fans, followers, and customers, businesses are in a unique position to help protect the environment. Here are four ways your company can help make its mark this Earth Day.
Lowering Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Our reliance on fossil fuels has emitted astronomical levels of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. As a result, temperatures are rising, causing the climate change we are beginning to see today.
To help combat climate change, companies have begun reducing their greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency and a switch to renewable energy, such as solar power and wind turbines. Many companies have begun divesting their funds from fossil fuel companies, moving that money to support renewable sources of energy.
The idea of a circular economy, or an economy that is based on restoration and regeneration, is gaining traction. Companies can utilize this framework and reduce their environmental impact by using recycled materials for their products or purchase refurbished, rather than new, electronics.
Brands that manufacture clothing, technology, and other goods have also been looking to extend their products’ lifecycles. This may seem counterintuitive as a shorter product life means more frequent sales, but consumers are beginning to take note.
Brands such as Patagonia, Lands’ End, and L.L. Bean even offer lifetime guarantees on their products, repairing worn garments to dissuade consumers from simply replacing them. Patagonia made headlines with their famous Black Friday campaign of “Don’t buy this jacket” which encouraged consumers to think twice about their holiday purchases because of the sheer environmental impact of them.
Donate to Environmental Causes
Many companies are in a fortunate financial position and can afford to donate to environmental causes across the world. Bank of America has donated more than $18 million to support the Nature Conservancy’s global conservation work.
Many brands incorporate giving into their sales. Ivory Ella, an online clothing store, donates 10 percent of its net profits to Save the Elephants and other nonprofit organizations. 1% for the Planet is a global organization that has 1,200 members businesses, which donate 1% of their annual profit to environmental organizations. Since its founding in 2002, $150 million has been donated to support environmental causes.
Brands can also consider getting actively involved in environmental work. Each Earth Day, employees at Timberland set out to work on environmental projects across the world.
Companies can also play a powerful role in legislative issues. Outdoor apparel brands including Black Diamond and Patagonia have recently been vocal about their support of Bear Ears Monument in Utah. President Obama designated the area a national monument in December 2016, but lawmakers in the state have pushed President Trump to rescind the designation to allow the area to be used for energy extraction. In response to the state’s refusal to support Bears Ears, the Outdoor Industry Association has decided it will moved its two tradeshows out of Utah, events that have brought in $50 million for the state.
No matter the size of the company, the industry it works in, or where it is located, businesses can make a positive impact on the environment this Earth Day or they can make an Earth Day Pledge to do one thing to reduce their carbon footprint in the year to come. At Teak, we use Give Something Back to order office supplies instead of using one of the big chains. Give Something Back is a certified B Corp that donates 73 of its annual profits to a number of nonprofit organizations that combat a number of social injustices and inequalities in our country. (See the annual report here for more info.) Give Something Back’s prices are comparable to the typical office supply stores, so it’s really an easy decision to make to spend our money wisely.
Finally, remember to get outside and honor and appreciate nature on Earth Day. We are blessed to live in a beautiful world, so let’s get out and enjoy it.