The fate of the planet is at stake and the whole world knows it. Former United States Vice Presidential Al Gore released the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” where he sought to educate people about global warming and its long-term effect. The urgency for businesses to adopt sustainable practices is now more important than ever. If the human race wants the Earth’s citizens to survive, we must take actions that will help to preserve the planet. Fortunately, there are several businesses that are leading the way with their sustainable efforts.
Australian LED lighting provider and winner of the Australian Business Awards for Innovation, LEDified are helping Australian homeowners and businesses upgrade to sustainable lighting solutions. With the support of the Australian Government’s incentive schemes, inefficient lighting is being gradually phased out in favour of sustainable lighting solutions that last longer and use less energy. LEDified Chairman Jeff Kennett has said, “Clearly as we move through the challenging economic climate ahead, seeking out and implementing cost saving opportunities is going to be paramount for Australian homes and businesses.”
Serial entrepreneur Elon Musk has been on a mission to bring a large-scale sustainable transport solution to the automobile market. Since their founding, the company has made several technological advances to produce a ‘zero emission’ vehicle.Elon Musk explains Tesla Motors commitment to sustainable transport in the following video.
Statistics from the U.S Energy Information Administration and EPA verify Tesla Motors sustainability efforts. Since the U.S consumes approximately 130,597.07 in gasoline per year, the CO2 that is released is 1160.62 gigatonnes (given that the amount of CO2 released per gallon is 8.887 kilograms). With Tesla’s technology, CO2 emissions can be reduced by 901,414 gigatonnes per year, according to calculations from Lakshmi Narayanan.
Musk believes that it is important for the automobile industry to make changes now as energy providers start moving towards sustainable energy production. In the future, automobiles will need to become more sustainable and Tesla is the current leader in sustainable transportation. Musk also hopes that the developments that Tesla is making for sustainable transportation will also spur other auto manufacturers to take action.
The supermarket giant has boldly claimed that they will become a zero-emission enterprise by the year 2050. They are currently implementing sustainable practices such as:
- Working with other sustainable suppliers.
- Implementing energy saving initiatives into their distribution centres.
- Generating renewable energy from wind and solar power generators.
The climate change initiative that they are doing is the boldest in the retail sector and has spurred competitors such as Sainsbury’s to revise their own sustainability efforts.Their efforts are regularly reported on their website as a part of their corporate responsibility.
Toyota has made major strides in their sustainable efforts. In their 6th Environmental Action Plan, the company will focus on:
- Contributing to a low-carbon society.
- Contributing to a recycling-based society.
- Contributing the company’s harmony with nature.
- By the end of 2012, the company had already reduced its vehicle’s emissions by 47%.
In the long-term, the company would like to achieve a zero-emissions target by the year 2050. Additionally, the company has made its own efforts with electric vehicles. The i-road vehicle is still in concept-mode, however it is the right step for the company in terms of developing a solution for sustainable transportation.
Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s has worked to reduce the company’s water consumption. By April of 2013, the company claimed to have reduced their water consumption by 50% as a result of eradicating leaks, fitting in low-flush toilets and pre-rinse spray taps in all of its stores and investing in car wash water reclaim units. As a result, the company now saves 22,674 cubic metres of water each year, which is equivalent to nine Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Woolworths recognised in 2007 that improvements in their retail supply chain would help the company reduce its carbon footprint. They set up the Woolworths’ Sustainability Strategy to help reduce:
- Carbon emissions by 40%
- Water consumption by 200 million litres.
- Food waste to landfill.
Managing director and CEO Michael Luscombe wants the company to respond to the challenges of sustainability in ways that support the local community, environment and its network of 180,000 employees. Climate change will remain the primary focus for the business’s sustainability efforts.
As Australia’s largest mining company, Rio Tinto is taking the lead on promoting sustainable and responsible mining practices in its operations. Rio Tinto adheres to the following principles for sustainable mining.
1. They integrate sustainable developments with any decisions.
2. They seek continual improvement in health and safety over the long-term.
3. They seek to improve the business’s approach to environmentally-friendly practices.
The following whiteboard video highlights Rio Tinto’s goals for sustainability.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
As Australia’s largest bank, they are aware of their corporate responsibility to excel the well being of people and communities. The company has focused on reducing its carbon emissions by:
- Making lighting upgrades in retail and commercial buildings.
- Upgrading heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
- Upgrading their lighting and security systems at selected retail sites.
- Implementing energy saving projects.
The company’s commitment to social governance and environmental practices haven’t gone unnoticed, with the company being named the most sustainable company in Australia in 2015 and the world’s most sustainable bank in the 2016 Global 100 (G100) Most Sustainable Corporations Index.
These are just a few of the leading organisations that are taking action to combat carbon emissions. It isn’t just up to the larger organisations to take action. All businesses of all sizes can come together and implement sustainable initiatives that will help reduce carbon emissions and protect the future of our planet.
Photo Credit: ri Sa via Flickr