In a world where big-box retailers are falling to online giants, Best Buy has managed to thrive.
Earlier this week, Best Buy announced a Science-Based Target (SBT) to help consumers reduce their carbon emissions by 20 percent and save $5 billion on utility costs. In its own operations, Best Buy will reduce carbon emissions by 75 percent.
To date, 567 companies have set or committed to set SBTs. But what makes Best Buy’s story unique is its strategy to make customers part of the equation: Reduce the company’s total carbon footprint by selling more energy efficient products to customers.
Here’s how this goal was set
In 1955, LIFE magazine ran an ad promoting “Throwaway Living,” encouraging the use of disposable items as a way to help cut down on household chores.
We used to depend on plastic, and now, our planet is being suffocated by it. Environmental impacts are showing the need for a more circular economy, and businesses are responding by offering innovation solutions, such as new products, packaging and business models, to address resource scarcity and climate risk – not to mention unlock a $4.5 trillion economic opportunity.
I recently caught up with Brendan Edgerton, the Director of Circular Economy at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and EDF Climate Corps alum, about the progress being made toward circular models of design and production – and his love of Swiss chocolate.
Circularity refers to shifting from current linear methods of production and consumption, where products are designed without consideration for what happens after use, to adopting circular models that keep products, components and materials within the economy.
This is the third in a series evaluating the challenges in single-use food packaging waste.
Packaging, especially single-use plastic, has been in the news a lot lately. Images of a straw in a turtle’s nose. Stalled community recycling programs following China’s decision to severely limit what waste materials they’ll accept. Hundreds of companies committing to change their plastic packaging practices. And let’s not forget about chemicals associated with packaging. In our previous blog, we noted that tight virgin-material standards can prevent problematic contamination in post-consumer recycled materials. We also shared a list of ten toxic chemicals and chemical classes including PFAS, phthalates, and perchlorate that can migrate into food from food packaging and food handling equipment.
As a Cruise Director for an expedition travel company in the Arctic and Antarctic, Meghan Kelly often found herself in conversations with locals about the receding coastline. She heard how decreasing sea ice is diminishing traditional hunting grounds, along with the passages between one community and the next in the Arctic. For the families who have been there for generations, surviving means adapting to a warmer climate.
To many of us, these remote locations may seem far away. But stories like this are happening much closer to home. Climate change is altering, and in some cases destroying, the environments we grew up in.
It’s easy to feel hopeless when hearing these stories. But here’s one reason why I’m optimistic about the future of our planet.
Credit: Danone North America
You may not be thinking about the environment when you’re opening your yogurt container or adding almond milk to your morning coffee. But for Danone North America, the company behind these and dozens of other dairy and specialty food products, sustainability is top of mind. “At Danone, we believe that each time we eat and drink, we can vote for the world we want,” the company’s website notes.
Just today, Danone North America announced that its Bridgeton, New Jersey facility achieved one of its zero waste goals, keeping more than 40 tons of waste out of the landfill this year alone.
Last year, global wine production rose to near-record highs, reaching a harvest of 292.3 million hectoliters – that’s more than 7.7 billion gallons. In the U.S. alone, domestic and imported wine sales reached $70.5 billion. The world clearly loves wine.
But, few industries feel the perils of climate change more directly than the wine industry. And with temperatures expected to only become more extreme, wineries are being forced to consider the long-term risk a changing climate will have on their business.
I had a chance to chat with Inesh Singh, the first-ever Chief Sustainability Officer of Sula Vineyards, India’s largest wine producer. For Inesh, sustainability isn’t just an opportunity to save the company money, it’s a key part of its long-term survival. Inesh is GreenBiz’s 30 Under 30 honoree, and was an EDF Climate Corps fellow with PepsiCo back in 2016.
Here’s an edited version of our conversation.
After a decade-long dry spell, Corporate America’s call for climate action is back.
Despite the Trump Administration’s continued denial, leading companies are finally giving climate change the attention it deserves and urging Congress to do the same.
Years from now, we’ll look back at May 2019 as a breakthrough moment, when business engagement in climate policy gathered strength and became an unstoppable movement. This month alone, companies across sectors including oil and gas, electric power, consumer goods and food have joined the CEO Climate Dialogue, invested in the Americans for Carbon Dividends initiative, and advocated on the Hill to put a price on carbon.
As Axios’ Amy Harder notes, “Several years-long trends are driving corporations to ask for government policy — but it’s not really about saving the planet. It’s about investor and legal pressure, falling prices for renewable energy, new bounties of cleaner-burning natural gas and growing public concern about a warming planet’s impacts.”
Whatever the reasons companies are stepping up to the plate on climate policy advocacy, pressure from investors is one trend that is here to stay.
Environmentally-conscious shoppers are expected to spend up to $150 billion on sustainable products by 2021, an increase of almost 15% since 2018. Skepticism about conventional products is, in part, fueling this market growth.
The key to engaging eco-conscious shoppers is to make cleaner, more sustainable products easier to find in stores and online. For example, this spring Target launched a “Clean” icon to identify products free from dozens of “unwanted chemicals.” Target’s entire suite of “Wellness Icons”, which include labels like “paraben free” and “dye free”, now span eight product categories. Meanwhile Sephora allows shoppers to easily filter for “Clean at Sephora” products online, find them in store, and to understand what the label means.
More than 1.4 million young people around the world took part in school strikes for climate action this spring.
My 12-year-old daughter Anna has become quite the environmentalist lately. She’s even started turning out the lights while you’re in the room to save on energy! Yes, this can be annoying. But I admire her passion and enjoy watching her become more invested in our planet.
Anna and the 1.4 million kids skipping class to protest climate change this spring give me hope. I got goosebumps when I heard the charismatic 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, whose actions started this movement, speak. She summed it up perfectly when she said: “We can’t save the world by playing by the rules because the rules have changed.”
These kids are on the front line. It’s their futures at stake. They’re scared, they’re angry and they’re energized.
And they should be on businesses’ radar.
Frances Seymour, a distinguished senior fellow at WRI & Fernando Sampaio, executive director of PCI at TFA2020’s annual meeting. Photo credit: TFA2020
Every day, we see another article about forests disappearing in the Amazon. This coverage shines light on a significant global problem that is only intensifying. With all the bad news, I was especially energized to attend the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020) Annual Meeting last week, where around 200 passionate people gathered to promote a forest positive future.