The past couple of weeks have brought news of some very surprising environmental efforts from large companies. Of course, like most large corporations who are making efforts toward sustainability, some of these companies have a long way to go. But giving credit where credit is due is increasingly important when it comes to the environment.
Perhaps the most surprising ventures come from Nestle. I, myself, am a huge skeptic of Nestle, mostly due to their incredibly shady bottling of community water, which they sell for millions in profits. They have been known to completely drain local water sources and sue communities who fight against their environmental destruction.
However, two pieces of news have come from Nestle in the past few weeks that could be promising. The first is Nestle’s investment in — and commitment to — sustainable coffee. This is an investment of 500 million Swiss Francs, or about $487 million U.S. dollars. Another element of this is, of course, fair trade and the amount farmers are making for their products. Considering Nestle buys ten percent of the world’s coffee, all of this is a very good thing:
Under the plan, Nestle would double the amount of beans they purchase directly from farmers to 180,000 tons by 2015 and source 90,000 tons of coffee in accordance with Rainforest Alliance Principles by 2020.
The second Nestle news tidbit has to do specifically with water and is quite thought-proviking. For World Water Week this year, they are committing to sustainable water operations – that includes reducing their water usage at their plants, assisting farmers with sustainable agriculture practices, etc. But unfortunately the article leaves out any mention of their bottled water arm and whether or not they will continue their drain-and-sell operations in freshwater sources. So, I’ll be keeping my eyes out for more news on that front.
Success number two is from eBay. The company is piloting a program of reusable shipping boxes that can be passed between eBay sellers and buyers. The company has manufactured 100,000 of these boxes and is testing them out. If successful, the program could save 4,000 trees a year.
Finally, we’ve got Sunny D. Yes, you read right. I was surprised to hear that Sunny Delight has achieved zero waste in 2010, three years ahead of their 2013 goal. Their waste reductions saved the company $169,000 last year. They have also released their full 2009 Sustainability Report, which outlines their other efforts as well. They’re making great strides in other areas, including moving to completely recyclable plastic pallets.
I myself was pleased to hear about these efforts by large companies to be more sustainable. Have any of you heard of other environmental successes of late? Let’s celebrate the progress we’re making — it’s important.
photo credit: istock