Just over a decade ago, green activists were advocating to adopt sustainable measures so that we could give our children a world they’d want to live in. But at the rate we’re using up the natural resources, forget our children; this generation is single-handedly destroying the world for ourselves.
According to an article published in Scientific American in 2010, at the current scale, we will see battles over drinkable water in Eastern Europe and the Middle East by 2025. By 2050, only 10 percent of natural oils will be left in the world. There will also be mass extinction of wildlife almost comparable to the Permian-Triassic extinction within this era.
No, this is not a sunny picture to paint. Sustainability takes time and loads of effort, so what can we do to save our little piece of the world? The answer is simple; on a small scale, do the little that you can daily, contribute in making an impact, and support organizations that fight for a greener cause.
Here are 4 companies that have gone an extra mile, vouching to tread lightly on the earth.
Just 4 years ago, the automotive industry was just about nearing the end of their lifecycle with high carbon emissions and inefficient drain of valuable fuel, when BAM! Suddenly, tons of world-renowned brands started their quest to develop new products and commit their efforts to innovation. The result was massive, and today, according to the 2013 Best Global Green Brands study by Interbrand and Deloitte, this industry has gotten a new lease to life. The top dog for several years now is Japanese brand Toyota, largely due to the halo effect of the Prius (a hybrid of electric and gasoline).
But Toyota is not stopping there; amid constant revisions, by 2015, we’ll be introduced to a car operated fully by hydrogen. It is this type of business that is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water consumption that deserves my vote. Time to get off your high horse, Mr. Lamborghini; you’ve been accelerating our population toward the end of the world at a top speed of 221 mph.
Next on my list is a somewhat controversial brand. Now we can vehemently choose to ignore our obsession with fast food, or we can graciously accept our addiction. Approximately 25% of Americans eat at a fast food restaurant daily, and the least we could do is promote a company that chooses the green alternative (let me clarify that I’m emphasizing green in terms of their corporate values). Ready for it? McDonald’s (I can almost hear the gasps of indignation). Don’t get me wrong here; I’m not a fan of abusive eating, but I definitely support a company that has lowered their energy use by more than 5 percent per customer last year.
On top of that, with over 33,500 outlets all over the world, they alone hold the monopoly to impact sustainability, simply by being more energy efficient. McDonald’s Canada has switched to unbleached bags and napkins; McDonald’s Australia reached a 95 percent recycling rate with their McRecycle Program ;McDonald’s Spain provides compulsory environmental training to all their employees. I’m not sure about you, but no matter how taboo this brand is, McDonald’s is definitely setting excellent examples that global companies ought to employ.
Think some companies are too small to make a difference? Cloud computing has steadily been successful in contributing to reduce the Information Technology’s carbon footprint. The idea behind Cloud computing is more accurately described as an accessible storage for companies to access data and software from remote servers. This allows energy-consuming equipment, that is more often than not running 24/ 7, to be used at a minimum. It is very unlikely that a company uses 100 percent of their computing power all the time. Hence, with Cloud technology, power is only used when it’s actually needed. For large organizations, this can mean up to a reduction of 30 percent in carbon emissions, and a whopping 90 percent for small businesses.
This last company has had their feet in the right direction especially regarding something we often overlook. You know those messages that you see at the bottom of an email, or maybe you hardly realize it’s there; it goes like this, “Please consider the environment before printing.” How many of us are guilty of jamming up the printer with every email, article, or letter that we write? More than 50 percent of the time, people do this because they prefer to edit and proofread their work with the traditional red pen and paper. But imagine the amount of ink, toner and paper you’re wasting; you’ve probably killed a small forest already.
I understand that it’s imperative to have flawless grammar. I’ve heard of people getting fired over it. So why not leave it to an expert like Grammarly?. Grammarly is an automated grammar-checking processor that has the ability to proofread all your documents and identifying poor grammar and punctuation, typos and all that gobbledygook caused by human error. Not only will your documents be in mint condition; you’ll also be doing a huge favour to all the trees out there working hard to give us oxygen.
To conclude, I’ll leave you with this quote from Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Do your part in building a smarter planet.
Nikolas Baron is a freelance writer and a marketing strategic analyses atGrammarly, a natural language processing start-up located in San Francisco.