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Saturday, November 30, 2013

How are some companies appealing to the sustainability generation?

Going green helps businesses succeed
Companies are incorporating sustainability for marketability
By Alvin Webster

We’re becoming greener each day. That’s at least according to Steven Cohen, Executive Director of the Sustainability Generation. In a post on the Huffington Post, Cohen points to a Gallup Poll that showed that the gap between economic concerns over environmental well-being is lowered. 

In 2011, 54% of the people polled valued economic concerns when they were at odds with environmental issues, but that number has dropped to 48%. This is could be due to a lot of factors: the economy is slowly getting better, climate change is becoming increasingly accepted by even the staunchest of opponents, and, finally, the Millenials are getting older.

Although not an exact term, Millenials is the name given to those who were born after 1980. This is a generation that grew up on Captain Planet, was exposed to the World Wide Web at a young age and watched An Inconvenient Truth in movie theaters. Dubbed the Sustainability Generation by Cohen, this generation is more receptive to environmental concerns and understands that solidifying the future means doing things in the present. As these people get older and influence corporate responsibility and offerings, we should see many more companies seek greener operating options and products, but here are just a few innovative companies that are paving the way for others:

Whole Foods: When one considers the Millenials, one has to think about where they shop and the grocery store they often go to is Whole Foods. Whole Foods was founded by John Mackey, who coined the term high trust organization. The term was meant to address how corporate responsibility needs to be voluntary, and how everything can’t be about profit. That’s why Whole Foods posts sustainability brochures and posters all over the store and includes ample places to recycle. In addition, they make it a point to use recycled bags and packaging, and the company has been honored by the EPA for its waste reduction efforts.

North American Power: North American Power was honored by Forbes Magazine as being one of the most promising companies in the country because of its efforts to supply customers with renewable sources of electricity. Rather than join traditional utilities, North American Power decided to try something a little different. They buy energy in the wholesale market and pass off the savings to the customer. In addition, they realize the importance of charity, and that’s why they’ll donate a dollar to each customer’s charity of choice every month.

MOVMNT: How many plastic bags do you think there are in our world’s oceans right now? According to the people of MOVMNT, too much, but the numbers are rather staggering. A trillion bags are consumed each year, and over a 100,000 marine animals die each year because of bags ending up in oceans. That’s why MOVMNT created a line of shoes and accessories that are made entirely of recycled single use plastic bags and organizes beach cleanups periodically to save the planet.

These companies are just three examples of the influence Millenials are having on the corporate world. As the push for sustainability continues, it should be interesting to see what other companies come about. 

About the author: Alvin Webster is an experienced electrician with a strong role in his community. He is always looking for more sustainable energy sources. He has been featured on many websites writing about these interests.

Image license: Sunshineconnelly, CC BY-SA 2.0