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Sustainability and responsibility are key tenets of modern business, but how do these tenets work in practice? Take a look at six sustainable practices examples and discover more.

Nike’s Move to Zero

Sports clothing and equipment giant Nike has been doing its part to reduce carbon emissions and increase sustainability with their Move to Zero campaign. Move to Zero is exactly what it sounds like — an initiative aimed at making zero emissions and zero wastage a reality as soon as possible.

The campaign includes:

  • Drives to convert all Nike’s owned and operated plants to 100% renewable energy sources by 2025
  • A 30% reduction of carbon emissions across the full global supply chain by 2030
  • Diverting 99% of all footwear manufacturing waste, and more than one billion plastic bottles each year, away from landfills to support more effective recycling
  • The Reuse-a-Shoe and Nike Grind programs, aimed at using waste materials to construct community sports projects, such as playgrounds and sports facilities, as well as new products and pieces of equipment

Patagonia’s Responsibili(tee)

Fashion — and fast, relatively low-cost fashion in particular — is one of the most environmentally damaging industries in today’s corporate landscape. While Patagonia does produce equipment and clothing for serious mountaineers and alpinists, the brand makes significant revenue from consumers who buy their products more for the style factor than for their performance at altitude.

This puts Patagonia very much in the fashion bracket — which has not been lost on its management and executives.

With this in mind, they launched the Responsibili-Tee line. This range represents Patagonia’s commitment to sustainability and ethical practices and includes:

  • Tees made from recycled fabric scraps and discarded plastic bottles
  • 100% recycled clothing pieces
  • Products manufactured with processes that use 96% less water and produce 45% less CO2 than standard manufacturing
  • Fair Trade Certified products

Dr. Bronner’s All-One!

Soap and personal care product manufacturer Dr. Bronner’s is serious about the responsibility we all share to the earth and its people. The company’s mantras — such as “All-One” and “One Earth, One Family, One Love” — do more than just pay lip service to this idea; they are crucial to the ethos of the company.

Dr. Bronner’s has put time and effort into supporting sustainability across their entire corporate structure. The company is particularly engaged with achieving a fair deal for suppliers and their local communities, as well as minimizing the carbon footprint of their operations.

The company’s initiatives include:

  • The planting of over 250,000 oil and coconut palms
  • The production of over 10,000 metric tonnes of thermophilic compost
  • Plans to offset all emissions from agricultural processing and production by 2023
  • The funding of clean water projects
  • The delivery of $100 staff bonuses to be donated to charitable causes under their Employee Giving Program — causes include support for the tribal sovereignty of Indigenous communities and campaigns against the slave ownership that still persists around the world

Warby Parker’s See the World Better

“See the World Better” is actually Warby Parker’s corporate tagline, rather than the name of a specific sustainability initiative, but it neatly describes the company’s attitude to ethical responsibility. One of the cornerstones of this attitude is the “buy a pair, give a pair” campaign, wherein the company donates vision-correcting equipment and eye test services to communities that need them most, both domestically and globally.

This approach has evolved following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. It suddenly became difficult to deliver donated eye testing services while adhering to social distancing guidelines, as communities found themselves in urgent need of medical equipment other than glasses.

Warby Parker took this onboard, extending their campaign to begin providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to these communities. This helped to fill a critical need in at-risk areas across the United States and beyond, assisting communities as they struggled to cope in the face of an unprecedented global disaster.

Bombas’ The Greatest Sock Never Sold

Similar to Warby Parker’s donations for each purchase made, sock manufacturer Bombas also offers products to those who need them most. This is the origin of their “The Greatest Sock Never Sold” campaign, which matches customer sock purchases with a charitable donation of socks to the homeless community.

As of December 2020, Bombas has delivered over 10,000,000 pairs of socks to disadvantaged individuals in need of comfort and protection for their feet. Bombas donates specially-designed pairs of their socks, crafted with the recipients in mind. The socks are designed to protect against blisters, resist wear and tear, and are antimicrobial for better health and hygiene.

Charities and non-profits that work with the homeless community can apply to become part of the Bombas campaign, helping homeless individuals across the country achieve additional support and comfort.

Starbucks’ C.A.F.E. Program

The coffee industry has been under great scrutiny for many years, as malpractice and unethical behaviors from the colonial era still permeate the market. However, organizations such as Starbucks are working hard to counteract this, with their own strict set of corporate sustainability rules and guidelines.

The C.A.F.E. (Coffee and Farmer Equity) Program sits at the heart of this. It outlines different guidelines across four key areas: quality, economic accountability and transparency, social responsibility, and environmental leadership. With such a broad-ranging set of responsibilities, Starbucks seeks to achieve a better deal for the planet and for those who call this planet home.

Under C.A.F.E., Starbucks is committed to 100% ethically sourced coffee and will only work with partners and suppliers who can guarantee the following:

  • A good standard of education for the children of workers
  • A safe working environment for all
  • Access to medical care for all employees, as well as safe living conditions
  • A fair wage
  • A commitment to long-term productivity and sustainability of farmland
  • Conservation of water and energy
  • minimized environmental impact
  • Among many other crucial criteria

Sustainable Practices Need to Be Our Future

Hopefully, these sustainable practices examples offer some inspiration and insight into what is possible when businesses focus their attention on responsibility and sustainability. The world is at a crisis point for a myriad of reasons, and it is up to all of us to do our best to secure a brighter future.