We always hear about the devastation companies wreak on the environment, but rarely do we hear about how these effects could be mitigated. Fortunately, there are organizations dedicated to minimizing emissions caused by companies and providing partnerships to guide these companies on how to be more environmentally friendly. Check out the five organizations below to find out more about their work to create a more sustainable future!
1. Fashion Revolution
Source: Fashion Revolution / Youtube
While oil companies and factory farms are among the most infamous polluters, one major contributor goes largely unnoticed. The fast fashion industry accounts for vast amounts of water usage, CO2 emissions, and landfilled products. This issue exemplifies how environmental and ethical issues are often intrinsically interlaced. Sweatshop workers for fast fashion companies like H&M, Zara, and Shein are exploited so they can produce excessive amounts of clothing for as cheap as possible. This practice not only leads to horrific working conditions, but the environmental strain of these cheaply made clothes is devastating. Every second, one garbage truck size amount of clothes are burned or landfilled. Just one cotton shirt takes 2,700 L of water to produce which is the equivalent of 2 1/2 years of drinking water for an individual. If the industry continues in this way, by 2050 fashion will account for a quarter of the world’s carbon budget. That’s where Fashion Revolution comes in. Fashion Revolution works with activists and brands to promote an ethical and environmentally friendly fashion industry. Some of their work involves hosting international events every year for a week in April to promote these ideals. By promoting slower fashion practices for both companies and consumers, Fashion Revolution helps brands reduce their emissions simply by producing less clothing.
2. Rainforest Alliance
Source: Rainforest Alliance / Youtube
The Rainforest Alliance is a non-profit organization that builds alliances between activists, businesses, small farmers, and consumers. Through these networks, Rainforest Alliance protects forests, mitigates environmentally harmful practices, and promotes fair, ethical farming. You might have noticed their cute tree frog seal on some of your favorite products! Some of their environmentalist efforts include training farmers in climate-smart agriculture methods and assisting forest communities with improving land management practices. As Rainforest Alliance claims, their work “focuses on protecting forests and land in ways that strengthen local livelihoods.”
3. World Resources Institute’s Greenhouse Gas Protocol
Source: WorldResourcesInst / Youtube
The World Resources Institute understands that to mitigate the effects of climate change we must curve the source of these problems. This is why WRI created the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHGP). The GHGP is the “leading international standard for companies to measure their carbon emissions so they can manage report on and reduce them.” Their efforts have worked to show companies that managing carbon emissions is not only beneficial for the environment but also for businesses, as by saving energy, these businesses save money. To make the transition easier, the GHGP gives guidance to these companies by providing clear standards and strategies to meet them. The GHGP has been so successful that by 2016, “92% of fortune 500 companies responding to CDP used the greenhouse gas protocol.”
Source: WeForest / Youtube
A classic way to remove CO2 from the atmosphere is to plant a tree. WeForest takes this idea to new heights with reforestation initiatives. According to the website, in order to stay below the 2°C temperature increase, we must reforest land equivalent to the size of India by 2030. WeForest has a couple of strategies to help us reach this goal. First is their geographical focus in the tropics, where forests are more efficient at cooling temperatures. Second is their corporate partnerships. Corporations can donate to help fund global reforestation initiatives, which also helps to offset their own omissions. Currently, the forest has over 150 corporate partners.
5. ENERGY STAR
Source: ENERGY STAR / Youtube
You might recognize their classic blue ENERGY STAR label from buildings you’ve entered or even your own appliances. A variety of businesses and institutions, such as Staples and JCPenney, apartment building complexes, and schools use ENERGY STAR to help them cut operating costs by saving energy. Not only are these businesses and schools saving money, but energy-saving practices greatly lower greenhouse gas emissions thus helping the environment!
What Can You Do?
We still have a lot of work to do regarding corporations’ impact on the environment. Fortunately, these organizations are paving the way for corporate interest in environmentalism. As an individual, going up against these corporations seems daunting, if not impossible. You have probably heard that just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions. While in comparison our personal impacts seem negligible, we cannot let the size and power of these companies overwhelm us into shirking our personal responsibilities. We need collective action in order to make change. You can take action by donating to these organizations, signing petitions to enforce stricter environmental regulations, and calling your representatives to let them know that these issues are important to you.
In August, The Trump administration announced the final rollback of methane rules, eliminating federal requirements for oil and gas companies to monitor and repair methane leaks from pipelines, storage facilities, and wells. Sign this petition to demand that the Trump administration dump these horrifying revisions to NEPA!
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