Climate change statistics are more alarming than ever before, and businesses large and small need to act, and fast. B Corporations use their influence to create positive changes, and today hundreds make up for large corporations — Netflix, Samsung, and Coca-Cola, to name a few — who lag in the fight for a waste-free world. On the first anniversary of the remarkable pledge made by more than 500 B Corps to go green, let’s take a look at how these organizations can inform our business practices and inspire us to do better.
Reducing Carbon Emissions: Businesses Can’t Wait
On December 11, 2019, something remarkable occurred. 20 years ahead of the Paris Agreement to reduce carbon emissions, B Corps stood up for change. The eco-conscious business collective met at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP25, in Madrid to establish ambitious goals: reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a 1.5 trajectory. The ultimate goal? Reach net zero emissions by 2030 or sooner.
Each year, projections about global climate change grow more alarming. In October, the United Nations warned us that the world is on track to becoming an ‘uninhabitable hell,’ evidenced by an unparalleled number of natural disasters. 2019 saw the warmest global surface temperatures recorded in history. B Corps, recognizing their influence on the collective and world government, took a stand. B Corp Climate Collective leader Kim Coupunas explains:
“We are facing a global emergency that threatens our only home and all our children. It’s time for leaders to lead. As the source and cause of the vast majority of the planet’s greenhouse gases, the business sector is uniquely culpable for the climate crisis — and therefore responsible for demonstrating leadership in eliminating emissions and drawing down carbon as rapidly as possible.”
The time for businesses worldwide to start fighting climate change was yesterday. Leading by example, B Corps remind us to check how each level of an organization gives back — or takes — from the world.
From lattés to fitness gear, the diverse range of B Corps at COP25 proves that every type of business and non-profit organization can go green. Take a look at some of the B Corporations from the climate change coalition who inspire us.
Third world farms produce flavorful, ethical coffee blends
In 2007, Peter N. Dupont, Klaus Thomsen and Casper Engel Rasmussen started a grocery store that evolved into a coffee shop thanks to one goal: help farmers achieve more value. As one of Copenhagen’s highly rated sustainable corporations, Coffee Collective has traded coffee directly from farmers in Ethiopia and Guatemala since 2008. The company is 100% owned by the Dupont-Thomsen-Rasmussen trio and eleven employees at their headquarters at Godthåbsvej. Today, the Coffee Collective continues to prioritize preserving the land and ecosystems of the world’s coffee production hotspots. The founders’ dedication to ensuring each level of the coffee chain is fairly compensated sets an example for small and large businesses worldwide about responsible sourcing.
Lightweight, plastic-free sneakers protect the health of our planet
Jogging may keep us healthy, but it has negative consequences for the environment. Most sneakers are lightweight because they contain an abundance of plastic. During the production process, they emit harmful chemicals like polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which output high levels of carbon dioxide. New Zealand native Tim Brown saw the untapped potential of merino wool for sneakers, so he ran (!) with the idea. With the expertise of designer Joey Zwillinger, Brown created Allbirds to provide fitness fanatics with sustainable yet highly durable sneakers. Produced with materials sourced from nature, comfort and eco-consciousness underpin the Allbirds design. Brown and Zwillinger continuously challenge themselves to come up with eco-friendly tools to satisfy customers and cut costs — everything is recycled, including packaging.
Combined, technology and compassion fight food waste and CO2 emissions
According to the USDA, food waste constitutes anywhere between 30 to 40 percent of our food supply. That’s 133 billion pounds of food lost and a staggering 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gasses added to the atmosphere. Enter Goodr, the first Atlanta-based startup that helps businesses track food produced and lost to combat food insecurity. Jasmine Crowe founded the organization in 2017 and has delivered hundreds of thousands of pounds of food to city-wide non-profits. The company developed an enviable SaaS platform with turnkey logistics to streamline the food tracking, recovery and donation process. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has fed upwards of 2,000 families each week. Goodr’s success prompts us to consider how technology is key for doing climate-positive business — and helping corporations receive tax write-offs for a good cause.
Going green means doing good throughout the supply chain
In September 2019, B Lab designated Dr. Bronner’s as a “Best For The World” top B Corp. Today, Michael Bronner continues his grandfather’s goal to unite Earth with eco-friendly products. Dr. Bronner’s is noteworthy because it not only sources organic, biodegradable, fair-trade ingredients from developing countries like Sri Lanka and Ghana, but also for its commitment to serving all with capitalism. Many communities in Dr. Bronner’s pipeline learn organic agriculture practices, receive support for community development, and receive clean drinking water. Bareilly, India, which supplies Dr. Bronner’s organic mint oil in their famous peppermint soap, has switched to eco-efficient farming practices. The brand teaches us that by developing humanitarian supply chains, we can create a healthier planet.
Redefining Corporations as Causes of Climate Change
If you research “What is climate change?” you’ll find plenty of information about greenhouse gasses and the benefits of recycling. But you probably won’t find the most important answer of all: It’s what happens when businesses don’t reduce their waste.
For business owners, taking the initiative to fight climate change will play a more significant role than ever in safeguarding longevity. The modern business model rests on sustainability. Innovative technology and fighting climate change go hand in hand, bringing businesses to the forefront of their industries. The fact that influential companies lose more than a trillion dollars each year to global warming is a wake-up call about how the health of the planet influences our success.
B Corps coming together against climate change have made waves across the business world, proving that acts of goodwill never go unnoticed. More than 500 organizations now constitute the B Corp Climate Collective, and together they send a strong message to corporations that measuring our carbon footprint is a non-option. Thanks to their efforts, corporations are now a step closer to being the solution for a greener, more compassionate Earth.