Last month, NASA announced 2020 was the hottest year on record, and that trend is only going to continue if big changes don't start happening ASAP. Luckily, many companies are already stepping up their eco-friendly game.
Every month, we're breaking down the sustainability efforts of some of the biggest and most well-known companies. Because they're so massive, it's their duty to be an example to others: When they start making changes, smaller companies will follow suit. These changes don't have to be huge, either: Even little steps in the right direction lead to a healthier future.
Here are eight companies that started off 2021 on a sustainable note, from Starbucks' plant-based food location to Coca-Cola changing the material of its signature bottle.
8 Big Companies Making Eco-Friendly Changes
Starbucks' plant-based food has been making headlines for a while, with more vegetarian- and vegan-friendly options hitting the menu across the country. But most recently, it was revealed that the company tested an entirely plant-based food location near Seattle.
By moving toward more plant-based food options, the world-renowned coffee company is really shaping its business for the better: The more plant-based items people order, the healthier the planet is. Additionally, the company is also testing more conscious materials in its products, like compostable cups.
Walmart just announced a partnership with Procter & Gamble. In short, Old Spice and Secret deodorants are being repackaged in recyclable paper tubes that come with a side of refills. This alludes to a company stance against single-use plastic. (FYI: Dove, owned by Unilever, also launched a refillable deodorant earlier this year.)
Walmart also recently partnered with IFCO. The two companies are working together to transition into the world of reusable produce packaging for select fruits and vegetables. They're hoping to achieve this through the use of reusable plastic containers, or RPCs. This is in combination with a seven-year-long project to reduce food waste, as the RPCs will increase the shelf life of the products.
Honda announced a desire to make hydro-cell cars a while ago, but it's still worth a mention on this list. Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are all the talk right now—aka cars that "split electrons from hydrogen molecules to produce electricity to run the motor." Basically, non-toxic hydrogen gas is inserted and transformed into electricity, releasing water and heat.
FCEVs don’t need to be plugged in to be recharged like the traditional electric vehicles. The current issue slowing down FCEV technology is money (along with the perfection of the design), since implementing hydrogen fuel stations across the country is very expensive. Ideally, the hydrogen would also need to be a byproduct of renewable energy sources to avoid greenhouse emissions.
Starbucks' plant-based food is a big hit, but there's food industry news from Coca-Cola, too: The company is looking to be a sustainability champion by changing the material of its signature bottle to 100 percent recycled plastic. The words "Recycle Me Again" will also be plastered on every bottle. Dasani and Sprite are said to follow Coca-Cola’s example soon with Sprite producing clear bottles by 2022 in order to facilitate the recycling process.
5. General Motors
Similarly to Honda, General Motors is entering the world of sustainability with electric vehicles. This announcement was illustrated through its hilarious Super Bowl commercial starring Will Ferrell, Awkwafina, and Kenan Thompson (watch it below!). The company plans to completely phase out gasoline engine vehicles by 2035 and be carbon neutral by 2040.
Nike is often celebrated for its inspirational ads and use of its voice to fight for good. Now its moving toward becoming more eco-friendly, too, with its involvement in the creation of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. On February 26, Nike is releasing a new sustainable performance wear collection called Cosmic Unity. This collection is made out of recycled materials and will feature 11 clothing items, a pair of sneakers, and a basketball.
Toyota announced its launching three electric vehicles this year (two battery electric vehicles and one plug-in hybrid). Previously known for its hybrid cars—which are powered solely by gasoline—the company released its first FCEV in 2020. Toyota’s Mirai was the first FCEV available for retail in all of North America, and its looking to release a new generation of the Mirai in 2021.
Despite these car companies making strides toward FCEVs, many other manufacturers (like Tesla) are holding back. The lack of hydrogen fuel stations (which currently only exist in California and Hawaii) paired with the money issue are causing worry that the technology won’t be a hit with consumers. But we have a feeling they'll be proven otherwise.
Target has been debuting more and more eco-friendly brands. Enter the Target x Levi’s sustainable home and lifestyle collection, which launches February 28. This line is super inclusive with a size range of XXS to 3X. It also features items made from recycled glass, as well as Fair Trade USA, GoodWeave, and FSC Wood certifications.
If you’re interested in learning more about the GoodWeave stamp and the history behind it, check out our podcast with the company’s CEO. We also have a rundown of other ethical labels to look out for.