How Can Your Organization Commit to Eco-Friendly Practices? Consider These 7 Examples


Solving climate change requires a coordinated effort from individuals, businesses and governments. Organizations play a crucial role, as their decision-makers determine the eco-footprint of entire buildings, sometimes multiple sites across the globe.

They have far more impact than one person alone. They should commit to eco-friendly practices to protect the only habitat humans and all the other living things on earth have. 

However, you might struggle to find ways you can go green in your daily operations. Draw inspiration from other business leaders who have found innovative ways to reduce their footprints. Here are seven examples to consider when renewing your corporate commitment to environmental sustainability

1. Conserving Water 

Energy gets most of the love when it comes to climate change discussions. However, water is also essential to life, and only about 1.2% of Earth’s supply is suitable for human consumption. That makes saving it necessary. 

Disney leads the way in sustainable water use. They’ve replaced grass with artificial turf wherever feasible at their many properties. Additionally, they use a sophisticated irrigation control system at their Disneyland property, which faces susceptibility to drought, using on-site water capture to provide for plant needs. They’ve also installed low-flow devices in all of their lodging.

2. Using Less Energy 

Small businesses can likewise lead in sustainability efforts. The folks at Spooky Nook Sports utilize geothermal energy from 48 underground wells for heating and cooling, creating eco-friendly climate control. 

As if that’s not enough, they also make efforts to reduce energy use elsewhere. For example, they slashed their lighting needs by incorporating LEDS, which use 40% less power than fluorescents. That’s a switch any business can emulate as it replaces old bulbs.

Additionally, they collect rainwater from the complex roof to meet their irrigation needs and recycle cans, cardboard, bottles and glass. The latter is another step any organization can take to commit to greater eco-friendliness.

3. Creating Earth-Friendly Products 

If you’ve seen the commercials for Seventh Generation, you know they advertise advancing the greater good of the planet as their business model. They use exclusive plant-based ingredients in their cleaning products that keep your home free of VOCs.

Additionally, many of their formulas appear on the EPA’s list of approved disinfectants against the virus that causes COVID-19, so you know they’re also effective at eradicating germs. 

Additionally, Seventh Generation has committed to the following by 2025:

  • 100% of ingredients will be sustainably bio-based or recycled.
  • Eliminating emissions created during manufacturing by partnering with renewable electricity and natural gas companies. 

4. Using Organic, Free Trade Ingredients

It doesn’t only matter how much energy you use to make your products. Using organic, free-trade ingredients in your formulation helps the planet in several ways. 

Organically grown goods are free of pesticides and fertilizers that can deplete the soil and poison aquatic ecosystems. The products certified free trade guarantee the farmers are paid enough to use sustainable methods and reinvest in their local communities. 

Dr. Bronners is one such company that pays the fair trade premium to uplift lives and promote sustainability. Their additional 10% funds community development projects, educates farmers in organic composting and pest management techniques and promotes crop diversification and other soil fertility measures to protect this vital resource. 

5. Using Recycled Materials

Mining raw materials creates environmental havoc in several ways. The heavy equipment used in such excavations requires fossil fuel use, digging disrupts ecosystems for years and toxic mine chemicals can leak into surrounding soil and waterways, contaminating them. Additionally, it takes considerable energy to transform ore into usable products people rely upon for daily work and play. 

Nike is one company doing more to use recycled materials in their production. Since 2008, all Nike Air soles have contained at least 50% manufactured waste, and the company now recycles more than 90% of the trash from Air sole materials to make new cushioning. Additionally, all of their North American plants have run on renewable air energy since 2020.

Apple is another example of a company making creative use of recycled materials. As of 2022, it sources the following from 100% recycled materials: 

  • ⅔ of all aluminum 
  • ¾ of all rare earth metals
  • More than 95% of all tungsten

Additionally, the company will use 100% recycled cobalt in batteries by 2025. Cobalt mines are notorious for leaking toxic materials into nearby soils, sometimes requiring entire communities to leave their homes. 

6. Opting for Renewable Energy 

You don’t often think of the automotive industry as a wellspring of renewable energy adoption. Still, their discoveries often lead the way in innovations that go on to have multi-purpose benefits. For example, the need for better batteries has led to strides in hemp battery production that could make home energy storage from rooftop solar cheaper and more eco-friendly. 

However, many manufacturers don’t stop with innovative EV technology. California automaker Rivian plans to power its facilities through 100% renewable energy by 2025. Other manufacturers have followed suit with similar goals to switch to green energy, including the following: 

  • Ford: 2035
  • Toyota: 2040
  • General Motors: 2050

7. Changing Corporate Structure 

It’s no secret that the traditional hierarchical corporate structure isn’t sustainable for the planet or people. The greater the imbalance of power and resources in the hands of those at the top, the more helpless those below feel to make a meaningful difference. This lack of agency saps morale, creates an us-versus-them attitude in the workplace and often stifles eco-friendly efforts if key decision-makers fail to see their value. 

However, several different business entity types promise to advance eco-friendly practices and improve the lives of workers. They include the following: 

  • Cooperatives: This entity type is similar to a corporation, only instead of shareholders, ownership is shared between individual users or producers in which each pays a fee or contributes sweat equity. Examples include marketing groups, farmer’s markets and community service organizations. 
  • B-corporations: These follow a traditional corporate structure but have been independently certified to earn high marks in social and environmental performance and allow significant transparency into their operations. 
  • Nonprofit entities: Recently, some corporations have “given” their assets away to nonprofit entities designed to ensure the ongoing business and social goals of the organization continue in perpetuity. 

For example, Patagonia recently adopted the nonprofit model, with the owner transferring his shares to a trust dedicated to fighting the environmental crisis and defending nature. You’ll still be able to buy Patagonia products to supply your camping and outdoor needs, but this shareholder foundation safeguards the sustainability commitment of the company’s founder, freeing him from fears that subsequent generations may elevate profit motives over social responsibility. 

Can Your Organization Commit to These Eco-Friendly Practices? 

Solving climate change requires everyone’s involvement, from individual citizens to governments. Businesses play a significant role, as their decision-makers dictate the carbon footprint of the countless people they employ on a daily basis. 

Responsible leaders take whatever measures they can to increase environmental sustainability and ensure ongoing viability for their enterprise — and the planet. Business owners and managers can draw inspiration from these seven examples of committing to eco-friendly practices and increasing corporate social responsibility. 

Scroll to Top