10 Companies That Are Helping Protect the Environment

Vijayalaxmi Kinhal
businessman holding Earth

With the growing emphasis on environment protection, many companies that are providing green goods and services are reaping sizeable profits. This market sector is making use of not only new technology, but also innovative business models, and approaches and is likely the new face of entrepreneurship.

1.Tesla Motors

Tesla is an energy giant. In fact, it has been named as one of the top green businesses in the world in the first Carbon Clean 200 list published in 2016 according to The Guardian. Founded in 2003 as an automobile company, it is also famous for designing, manufacturing, and marketing solar panels and storage batteries.

  • Electric vehicles: Tesla is particularly well known for its electric vehicles, and Energy Sage notes Tesla has rejuvenated the electric vehicle sector with its innovations. Among its recent models are the semi trucks released in 2017, which Tesla claims can travel 300 to 500 miles with a single charge -- and they are competitively priced according to Ars Technica.
  • powerwall battery
    Powerwall storage batteries: These are powerful rechargeable lithium ion battery and Tesla was one of the pioneers to make batteries suitable for home energy storage. It has started a trend that many companies hope to emulate, points out Business Insider.
  • Solar tiles: Tesla solar tiles are designed to look like shingles and are also aesthetically pleasing.

Tesla's ambition is to enable people to live off-the-grid with their solar panels producing energy stored in the Powerwall to run the house and charge their electric cars. Tesla's range can help reduce burning of fossil fuels for power generation, heating, and transport. This is necessary to mitigate climate change and reduce air pollution with all its fallout.

2. Steelcase

Cradle to cradle (C2C) is a business model gaining popularity because it is based on a closed loop system. Most products are produced in open loop or linear systems where materials are sourced, then products created out of them which are discarded after use, ending up in the landfill.

Massaud Lounge

Steelcase makes chairs, desks, cabinets, architectural elements like panels, floors, and work-tools like whiteboards, lighting etc. In keeping with C2C concept, they use only safe materials that can be recycled. Moreover, the products are also designed in such a way that the components can be easily dismantled by people for refurbishing or recycling. This ensures that after the product is used, at the end of its life-cycle, when the company buys them back, the durable parts in good condition can be reused to make the same products again. This involves careful planning from the design stage, and waste management is an integral part of the product concept. Many furniture pieces are certified by Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.

C2C ensures sustainable use of natural resources as product components and materials can be recycled endlessly reducing resource drain and wastage, and simultaneously address the problem of waste management, since hardly any waste is created in this business model. There is also an emphasis on reducing pollution by using renewable energy and making efficient use of water.

3. Vestas

Wind energy has become one of the cheapest sources of energy, and in 2017 became cheaper than fossil fuel fuels.

Vestas, which is also on the Carbon Clean 200 list, is devoted to producing only wind power. A Danish firm, Vesta started as a blacksmith shop in 1898. A pioneer in the field of wind energy, it is now a global player, accounting for 16% of installations worldwide. It has installations in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. They want to ensure the cost of wind power keeps decreasing. They have already helped to make wind a mainstream source of energy. Vesta is working on making its turbines more environment friendly and also reduce the carbon footprint of their manufacture.

Greenpeace considers wind is vital and to be one of the main carbon-free renewable sources of energy which can together meet more than 95% electricity and heating demands with available technologies. In this scenario, the past and future contribution of firms, like Vestas, that are committed to making wind turbines bigger and better to provide cheap energy is invaluable. Wind power can reduce carbon emissions to keep global warming below 1.50C.

4. LifeSource Natural Foods

LifeSource Natural Foods

LifeSource Natural Foods has been named the healthiest food store chain in the USA, even though they have only five stores, all of them in the Salem, Oregon area. They are the only locally owned and independent organic store in Salem and also sell only locally grown quality organic food; their processed products are chemical-free and contain no artificial ingredients. They stock fresh produce, groceries, free-range and organic meat, wines, cheese, nutritional supplements, and have a deli and bakery.

It is their emphasis on quality organic food, waste handling and fair labor practices that, despite their small area of coverage, earns them the title of one of the top health food stores from The Daily Meal. They have also been named one of the 100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon in 2014. They cooperate with their customers to reduce, reuse and recycle waste to achieve sustainability. By promoting organic farming they chelp to reduce use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers that lead to land, water, and ocean pollution. Other food stores who follow their example would contribute to this reduction even further.

5. Amour Vert

Amour Vert is recommended by Cosmopolitan as one of the top twenty eco-fashion brands. Amour Vert is an American company that produces clothes and accessories like shoes, bags and jewelry made from sustainable materials, and non-toxic dyes following a zero waste policy. The fabrics used are Tencel and Modal which are derived from eucalyptus and beech that can be grown without the heavy chemical applications that cotton needs. Cotton when it is used is certified organic. Polyester clothes are made from recycled material so they ensure waste reduction. For every tee-shirt that is purchased from them they plant a tree in north America.

Fast fashion industry is the second largest polluter with a large carbon footprint, according to EcoWatch, because of the use of pesticides and fertilizers in producing raw materials, toxic dyes during production and the waste produced by changing fashions. Amour Vert addresses all these problems and planting trees ensures it is reducing its carbon footprint.

6. The Organic Coup

signature sandwich

The Organic Coup is USA's first certified organic fast food chain according to Business Insider. Its owner started this chain to provide trusted organic fast food, and the chain is certified by USDA. All the food and beverages available are certified. They offer breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a wide range of offerings that include burgers, wraps, grilled chicken, and salads. Their food is more expensive than conventional fast food, but demand is high, proven by the number of branches they have on the west coast.

Besides being a pioneer in the certified fast food sector, they also boost of being the highest payers in the industry. They are rightly considered trend setters in their industry. Finding innovative ways to increase the reach of organic produce, helps both multiple players on the supply chain: the farmers, producers, and consumers.

7. Weleda

Weleda is one of the oldest cosmetic companies whose entire range is natural and organic, attested by the certification by NATRUE. They offer face, body, skin, and baby care and wellness products derived from flowers, fruits, and plants. They guarantee that all their products are free of chemicals harmful to people and the environment, like paraben, synthetic perfumes, and preservatives, sodium-laurel-sulfate, and phthalates. Moreover, they use no Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) either. Weleda products have received several good reviews from magazines like Martha Stewart Living.

Many ingredients in skin-care and cosmetic products are pollutants, and since these products are used in enormous quantities, they can lead to water pollution by entering into the sewage system, notes The Huffington Post. Products free of these pollutants, such as those from Weleda, are necessary to reduce water and ocean pollution.

8. Hyundai

Hyundai was the first company to mass produce cars with hydrogen fuel cell motors. These cars produce only water as emission, and are silent. Its latest model Tuscon Fuel Cell is an SUV, which can run for 500 miles on a single charge that can function without problems at -300C according to BBC's Top Gear. The Union of Concerned Scientists notes that overall these cars produce 30% less green-house gas emissions (GHG) than conventional fossil fuel driven cars. The fuel hydrogen though is polluting, and these cars can be less polluting when hydrogen can be recycled.

Cars powered by alternative fuels are a way to reduce air pollution and GHGs that contribute to climate change.

9. Hewlett Packard (HP)

Hewlett Packards' recycling program has been around for a long time. HP, a giant in computer and printer technology, now boosts they collect electronic wastes from 73 countries spanning six continents in the world. Their take-back program covers computers, screens, ink cartridges and printers. They have "free drop-off options" in many countries. Since 2000, they have managed to collect and recycle 90 million kilograms of plastic that is used to make new ink cartridges. This means there is 5000 truckloads of waste that is rescued from ending up in landfills according to them. HP has reduced their GHG emissions and water consumption and use 100% renewable energy in manufacture process.

In 2014, 41 million tonnes of electronic waste was produced, of which only 15.5% was taken back by companies according to RLG Americas. This entails a waste of precious metals and causes problems due to pollution by heavy metals and disposal problems of plastic components. So active participation by computer companies is vital to deal with this problem given the high consumption of computers.

10. Fireclay Tile

Fireclay Tile

Fireclay Tile is recommended by Elemental Green for using waste materials to make their unique and beautiful range of products. Fireclay makes bricks, architectural moldings, and tiles for walls, bathrooms, kitchens, and subways. They rely on locally sourced recycled material for their production process. This includes processed gravel from neighboring plants, post- industrial glass and recycled glass from curbside collection, porcelain from curbside collection, and fireclay scraps from second quality tiles.

The company which started as a tile factory in the 1920s, operates at its original location in the middle of agricultural California. The manufacture methods are sustainable and products are hand-crafted. Each consignment is made to order and people can choose from the available range and styles or suggest customized combinations. The company is proud that its employees are also share-holders in the firm.

Companies which make wealth out of waste are using available technology to reduce waste accumulation and all its attendant problems and create imaginative products for people. Using green building materials from companies like Fireclay Tile creates less waste.

Sustainable Corporate Solutions

Green companies help the environment by providing solutions to the problems created by use of polluting raw materials, over-consumption, and waste production. There are green enterprises in every sector of the business and economy, helping people address the environmental problems facing the world.

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10 Companies That Are Helping Protect the Environment