Companies that are beginning to include more green energy may be saving money long-term as well as doing their part for the environment. The dual benefits of going green have led to a handful of corporations taking the leap recently. Whether by switching to recyclables or using alternative energies, top names seem to be making sustainability a priority. Let’s see what they were up to last year.
Late in 2011 Starbucks declared its goal of making all of its cups reusable or recyclable by 2015. In addition, the company debuted its first green store in Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The store is created entirely of sustainable materials and is designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
On the surface, Chipotle may not seem like a top candidate for being green but the integrity of its food has long been a cornerstone of business. Chipotle worked to forward this image more in the recent past, stressing its use of hormone-free and antibiotic-free ingredients. The focus on naturally grown ingredients keeps the ground safe from absorbing harmful chemicals, the impact of which is unknown in many cases.
Whole Foods Market (WFM)
Whole Foods may be among the businesses most lauded for its commitment to organic food and sustainability. The notion of corporatizing such values back when Whole Foods was just getting its start in the '80s seemed ludicrous, but it has successfully done it. Not only was it the first major retailer to offset 100 percent of its energy use with wind and energy credits, but it also focuses on using biodegradable packaging when possible and develops green stores to help reduce the amount of energy used period.
Kohl’s commitment to green is 100 percent, as evidenced by the fact the company’s power is entirely fueled by reneweable sources from biomass, to hydroelectric, solar and wind. The clothing retailer thinks it important to set a good example in the industry by being environmentally responsible, even if it costs a little more at first. The trade off of long-term sustainability is worth it.
Tech powerhouse, Intel, has factories all over the world, pushing out semi-conductors. The development without semi-conductors comes at a high cost energy wise but Intel does its best to make sure muchof the power is sustainable. As of last year, in the U.S., more than 85 percent of the electricity the company used was green based. Last year, energy expenditures at Intel went from 1.4 billion to 2.5 billion kilowatt hours.
"Even in the midst of what was a down economy last year, we continue to see organizations of all shapes and sizes making significant green power commitments," says Blaine Collison, director of the EPA's Green Power Partnership. "Intel went from 1.4 billion to 2.5 billion kilowatt hours. That's remarkable."
Intel isn’t the only tech company working to increase sustainability. The company has a multi-tiered green vision. Cisco intends to reduce the ecological impact of its operations by “establishing responsible operation programs aimed to reduce energy consumption across the company, limit the greenhouse gas emissions implicated in global warming, closely manage the air quality, water consumption, food procurement and waste and lastly, monitor and ensure proper disposal of hazardous materials,” says its website.
Cisco has implemented a Connected Workplace concept in its worldwide offices with the purpose of minimizing material and equipment costs, saving electricity and cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions. According to the company, “the system helps in cutting construction costs and land use requirements and also lowers the traffic congestion.
Cisco also partnered with the San Francisco Department of Energy to announce the first Urban EcoMap Pilot which provides data an carbon emissions organized by zip codes. It is also working with NASA to develop a collaborative global monitoring platform intended to capture, collect, analyze and report data regarding environmental conditions around the world.
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