One of the best ways to show your support for environmental issues is by purchasing products and services from businesses that prioritize protecting the environment over profits. Choosing to buy from companies that have demonstrated their commitment to environmental responsibility can encourage corporate leaders to adopt green-friendly policies. By making your commitment to environmental issues with your spending dollar, you can have a real impact on the consumer marketplace and on the companies that compete for your business in this venue.
We have performed the due diligence necessary to highlight companies with an outstanding track record for environmental responsibility. Here are seven of the most green-friendly businesses in the United States across a range of industries and economic sectors.
Dell has been a leading force in the computing industry for decades. Founded in 1984, the company produces personal computers, monitors and data storage devices for the consumer marketplace. Dell also prioritizes environmental responsibility in a number of important ways.
• Dell participates in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power Partnership program. The company consistently ranks among the top 50 U.S. companies in terms of renewable energy purchases and has built solar power installations at several of its locations. According to Dell, on-site generation and renewably sourced power sources are currently providing one-third of the electricity used by the company.
• Dell Technologies is also working toward ISO 50001 certification for all its factories and suppliers. ISO 50001 is a set of standards established by an independent organization for measuring the energy efficiency of commercial and industrial facilities. Dell has made upgrades to lighting fixtures and improvements to their processing equipment to reduce energy use in their facilities and to achieve compliance with ISO 50001 standards.
Microsoft is a household name thanks to its array of software packages, services and computing devices. It is also a leader in reducing carbon emissions. Microsoft has been carbon neutral since 2012 and is currently pursuing an ambitious initiative intended to allow the company to become carbon negative by 2030.
Microsoft's commitment to sustainability and protecting the environment is also demonstrated by its alliance with other companies to make the use of renewable energy less risky for businesses in the United States. In conjunction with Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, Inc. and Nephila Capital, Microsoft has engaged in a volume firming agreement that offers protection against uncontrolled price fluctuations for companies that choose to make renewable energy part of their operating model. This partnership takes much of the risk out of going green for companies of all sizes in the competitive marketplace.
It may seem strange that an automaker would appear on this list. We note, however, that General Motors (GM) is making sustainability a priority not only in its manufacturing processes but also in the vehicles produced by the company. GM has announced some pretty ambitious goals that will reduce emissions from its facilities and its vehicles to a significant degree over the next 10 years:
• Achieving 50 percent or more sustainable materials in all GM vehicles by 2030
• Making sure that all targeted GM suppliers are providing sustainability data by 2022
• Reducing Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 31 percent in compliance with the Paris Climate Agreement
• Sourcing 100-percent renewable energy in the United States by 2030
General Motors has expressed its commitment to develop electric vehicles in partnership with Honda and in stand-alone projects to develop more efficient and affordable electric vehicles and batteries. As these initiatives develop, GM will continue to improve its standing as an environmentally responsible company in the global marketplace.
As a leading food and beverage manufacturing company in the United States, General Mills has implemented some impressive initiatives designed to reduce its impact on the environment and to combat climate change. The goals outlined by General Mills encompass all elements of the company's operations:
• Achieving net zero carbon emission levels by 2050
• Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent throughout the General Mills supply chain by 2030
General Mills is working to lower emissions created in the production of raw materials and in their transport to processing facilities. This could potentially have a significant and wide-ranging effect on carbon emissions for the company and its affiliates.
Better known as UPS, the United Parcel Service has been a fixture in the delivery industry since it was founded as the American Messenger Company in 1907. Like the other companies on our list, UPS has set ambitious goals for reducing its carbon emissions and reducing its impact on the environment:
• By 2025, UPS plans to source one-fourth of its electrical needs from renewable sources and 40 percent of its fuel from low-carbon or alternative fuel sources like renewable natural gas. The Alternative Fuels Data Center of the U.S. Department of Energy has identified natural gas as a low-carbon fuel alternative that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 11 percent compared with gasoline-powered vehicles.
• UPS has already achieved a milestone by making sure that one-fourth of all its new vehicle purchases are powered by advanced technology or by alternative fuels. A 2019 partnership with the Clean Energy Fuels Corporation will allow UPS to purchase 250 million gallons of renewable natural gas for its fleet through the year 2026. This represents a real shift in the way in which UPS fuels its vehicles and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a considerable degree.
• With demand for deliveries on the rise in the United States and around the world, UPS is also adjusting its air cargo operations by upgrading to energy-efficient planes that reduce carbon emissions and fuel consumption. The company has also implemented procedures to optimize flight paths and to reduce weight for cargo planes to reduce its impact on the environment.
The financial services industry is not best known for its commitment to sustainability. In recent years, however, many of these companies have begun to implement policies to reduce pollution and to take on climate change. MasterCard has announced that it is prioritizing climate change in several key areas:
• MasterCard is part of the RE100 Climate Group, an international corporate alliance of companies that are committed to the principle of 100-percent renewable electricity around the world. As part of RE100, MasterCard is working toward zero carbon emissions and the reduction of Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 38 percent over the period from 2016 to 2025. MasterCard is also committed to reducing Scope 3 greenhouse gases by 20 percent over the same time period.
• Almost 85 percent of MasterCard workspaces meet local, regional or international certification standards for green-friendly building. Additionally, all of the data centers owned by MasterCard are certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). According to the U.S. Green Building Council [https://www.usgbc.org/help/what-leed], LEED serves as a rating system for the energy efficiency of buildings around the world.
As a leading developer of biotechnology solutions and therapeutics for patients in the United States and around the world, Amgen focuses its efforts in areas in which medical needs are going unmet. Amgen has joined the fight against climate change in a few important ways:
• Amgen practices sustainable research and manufacturing methods that reduce waste and encourage recycling of plastics, glass and foam rubber materials. Additionally, the company has instituted green-friendly packaging for most of its products. Almost all of the paper used in secondary packaging is sourced from forests certified to be sustainable.
• Amgen partners with other agencies and organizations to promote environmental responsibility. Triumvirate Environmental and Amgen have created a partnership to convert plastics that cannot be easily recycled into benches and pallets for a wide range of uses. As part of the American Chemical Society’s Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable, Amgen participates in discussions on how best to implement green-friendly practices into the manufacture and distribution of pharmaceutical products.
In some cases, it may be easy to determine the best way to show your support for companies that engage in green-friendly practices. Choosing MasterCard over its competitors or purchasing a Dell computer instead of another brand can be a simple way to demonstrate your commitment to environmental responsibility.
At other times, it may be more difficult to determine the best way to vote with your spending dollar. You may have little control over the pharmaceutical products your doctor prescribes. Expressing your preference for green-friendly products and doing your own due diligence, however, can pay off in increased pressure on companies in every sector of the economy to do the right thing.
Climate change is a threat to every person, animal and plant on this planet. Environmental responsibility must be a group effort in which we all demonstrate our commitment both in our personal actions and in the companies and organizations we support. Being mindful about your purchases and about your overall impact on the environment is critical to build a better tomorrow for all of us.