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World’s Greenest Companies and What We Can Learn from Them

espina, bea, british gasEco-friendliness is more than just a trend. What started as hype in the business world about a decade ago is now a standard parameter to measure a company’s performance, success and value. Twenty years ago, most companies didn’t make much effort to jump on the green bandwagon; economic success was too important and needed too much focus to spend extra money on protecting the environment. At least, this was the general way of thinking. But some businesses were different at the time and put early eco-friendly measures in place. It is certainly no surprise that those companies are the winners in today’s race to be green. Much has changed recently, above all consumer’s awareness and mentality, and nowadays a company has to be eco-friendly in order to be taken seriously.

The battle to be the most eco-friendly company is, after all, not hard to understand. Eco-friendliness pays off in many ways: maybe investments and hurdles appeared on the way to becoming a green company, but in the long run not only the company’s reputation benefits – a truly green company needs less energy, which in turn leads to lower business energy bills and extra money that can be invested in other projects. Whilst it is true that today’s winners of the green race are the companies that took initiative a long time ago (a company simply doesn’t become green overnight) it is also a fact that every company, small or large, can make changes and adjustments and become more eco-friendly with some simple steps. So let’s have a look at the 5 famous examples of the green winners and see what we, as companies, can learn from them.

1)     IBM

IBM is the absolute winner of the green race. Already back in 1971 they were an avid champion of implementing eco-friendly measures at corporate level and they have been following this trend ever since. In 2012 they received the European Union Code of Conduct for Data Centers Award, a recognition for their long term efforts. In fact, they have been one of the first eco-friendly companies back in a time when the concept of climate change was something too vague to be concerned about.

Additionally their Smarter Planet Initiative has successfully engaged consumer to get involved and lead a greener and more sustainable life. Education and innovation within the digital and social media space is their key to success.

Lesson 1: Don’t be afraid of doing things no one else does. Be innovative and include your customers in your efforts.

2)     Volkswagen

Volkswagen is famous for many things: safe and elegant cars, high quality products, top engineering and eco-friendliness. Volkswagen cars always lead the top 10 lists of the most eco-friendly cars in the world thanks to their holistic approach to producing high-efficient, eco-conscious cars, fueled by TDI clean diesel gas. The company went a step further and invented the concept of “thinking blue,” which stands for saving energy and living more efficiently. A wealth of tips and advice can be found on their ‘Think Blue Blog.”

Lesson 2: Don’t be just eco-friendly. Don’t make choices between eco-friendliness and other values. Opt for a holistic approach and promote it.

3)     Sony

A more holistic approach is also followed by Sony. They don’t just focus on being energy efficient, but they shine when it comes to social responsibility and sustainability. They put their values into practice through volunteerism and are well known leaders in this field. Over 20,000 Sony employees have gathered food for the hungry, built homes for people who couldn’t afford it, cleaned polluted water resources, and done so much more to help disadvantaged people and protect the environment.

Lesson 3: Volunteer for important things – it will certainly not harm you.

4)     Samsung

Samsung Electronics also leads the green wave but with a different approach. They are dedicated to the greening of its management, products, processes, workplace, and communities – a holistic approach to become green within the company. However, they didn’t stop there, they also put a take-back and recycle program into place: old products can be given back in stores, and are recycled in the most efficient way possible. The volume of unrecoverable material is minimized which does make a big difference given the amount of old electronic devices our planet has to deal with.

Lesson 4: Make changes from the inside out and stick to simple but efficient measures.

5)     Walt Disney

Walt Disney has been a symbol of childhood memories for decades but they also pride themselves on spreading three core values of citizenship and sustainability throughout the world: Act, Champion and Inspire. Act ethically and consider the consequences your decisions have on other people and the planet. Champion happiness and well-being of kids and families. Inspire kids and families to make positive changes in the world that last.

Some might argue that Walt Disney’s efforts are not tangible enough but their positivity and vast reach of people can’t be denied and will certainly make up for it. After all they successfully inspire the next generation on a daily basis.

Lesson 5: You don’t have to be extremely serious and formal to make a difference. Creativity and an optimistic approach can go a long way.

This article is written by Bea, freelance writer on behalf of British Gas Business.

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6 thoughts on “World’s Greenest Companies and What We Can Learn from Them

  1. You looked at 3 long standing tech companies, 1 long standing german auto company, and an entertainment company older than dirt… all are behemoths/giants in their industries, all make huge profits, and all benefited early on from government subsidies, rebates, incentive programs, and tax credits/grants that they didn’t need to “go green” or become eco-friendly, and all at the consumer / tax payers expense…

    While I commend each company for huge strides they’ve made, as they’ve all succeeded at becoming more “eco-friendly”, they are not the World’s Greenest Companies.
    And while, I agree with Lesson 4, don’t forget the lesson that each of these 5 companies lives by first and foremost, “Bigger is Better”.

    There are many other companies and industries where green is inherent in nature, at their core, drive their growth, and the general public knows virtually nothing of their existence.

    I advice you to do a little more research next time around, and not just pick your favorite vacation spot, the brands of 3 consumer electronic products you own, and the make of your car.

  2. What basis was used to identify these as the “greenest” ?
    Didn’t see any ranking or recognition program referenced.
    If your opinon only, would be usful to state that.
    There are plenty of green firms winning awards.
    Also, at the risk of nit-picking, the US FTC “Green Guides” advise against using the terms (eco/environmental/anything)
    “friendly” since it’s not definable, despite its ubiquitous use.

  3. As you said Eco-friendliness is more than just a trend. I agree with that. Eco-friendliness makes some companies gain more profit and fume. It is not just a trend but a green business.

  4. It certainly doesn’t require any sort of expertise, to determine that the companies highlighted in this article, are definitely NOT the top environmentally “friendly” companies in the world. The entire article lacks anything solid, that would allow us to figuratively measure any of the company’s environmental contributions. No concrete facts, or references to substantiate anything. Nothing tangible as to why any of these companies were highlighted. In fact, here is a direct quote from the author “Some might argue that Walt Disney’s efforts are not tangible enough”.

    There is no reason why a company who’s efforts in turn see them as one of the world’s most environmentally friendly, wouldn’t be tangible enough. I myself work for a very environmentally conscious company. Everything this company is involved with, that contributes to the greater good of the environment, is absolutely tangible. To name just a few examples of the many ways this company strives toward bettering the environment, are that we carry no foods containing GMOs, we also strictly recycle, or compost everything that is allowable. We were the first company to use solar energy as our primary lighting source. In addition, for the year 2006 we had the largest wind energy purchase at that time. For all of the vast and innovative ways this company contributes to the sustainability of the environment, we have in turn been recognized, and received awards from various environmentally important organizations. I didn’t list these accomplishments to endorse the company I work for. Note, I didn’t even produce the name of the company. I was showcasing how easy it is to give real, and tangible reasons why a company would be considered environmentally friendly, because companies who are environmentally responsible, can effortlessly provide substantial and precise examples.

    Instead, in an effort to hide behind the article’s lack of substance. The article instead reads like the authors own abstract point of view, inane on convincing its readers on why the companies fit the criteria. Fortunately, it seems most readers were able to detect how obviously nonsensical the article is. I found it overtly nauseating how the author attempts to win the readers over, by inputting morality lessons, people should learn from each of the chosen conglomerates. The article also manages to try and convey inspiration, rather noticeably to me ,as a manipulation tactic. The authors feeble attempts at an inspirational article fall flat, as the article instead, oozes insincerity. As I read on, I continually noticed attempts to circumvent the readers attention away from the many foundationless claims made in the article.

    I became increasingly confused, as to why the author went to such great lengths to convince readers of what was so blatantly incorrect. While simultaneously risking the chance of losing further credibility as a writer. It wasn’t until I reached the end of the article, and read who the author was, that I was able to make sense of the whole thing. The author is a freelance writer, who writes on behalf of The British Gas Company. In other words the article is a completley biased piece of work. Composed solely for the corrupted propaganda, and those who benefit from it. At least I was able to finally make sense of such crap.

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