There are many reasons why companies should strive to become more sustainable, from improving environmental quality to diminishing your carbon footprint.
Many companies that value their brand and reputation are discovering, however, that they must improve their sustainability to have a competitive advantage. Not having this mindset can leave you missing out on distinct advantages over others in your industry, such as:
A favorable public image
Reduced costs in areas such as energy, waste disposal, transportation and supplies
Access to grant and loan programs that offer economic incentives
Diminished carbon footprint
If your goal is to improve your company’s sustainability, you’ve taken the first step needed to make long-term changes in your operations. However, knowing how to continue from here can be challenging. Often, the opportunities that you have depend on your industry and the day-to-day operations of your company.
However, other companies’ experiences with improving the sustainability of their operations can provide some inspiration as you move forward. Here are four sustainability examples that will inspire your company to take the next step toward sustainable development.
McCormick & McCormick
McCormick & Company ranked the 6th most sustainable corporation in the world and No. 1 in food on Corporate Knights 2021 Global 100 Sustainability Index.
One of the company’s primary goals has been to improve sustainable sourcing by obtaining all herbs and spices in the company’s portfolio sustainably. By 2025, McCormick & McCormick has the goal of sourcing its iconic ingredients, including oregano and cinnamon, in a sustainable way.
Other environmental goals include achieving a 80% solid waste recycling rate and a 100% plastic packaging recycling rate. Inspired by Ellen MacArthur Circular Economy Concepts, McCormick & McCormick is focused on creating a plastic recycled economy. In other words, the company has the goal of creating plastic that can only be reused, recycled or repurposed.
Additional goals include reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lowering the company’s carbon footprint by 2025.
Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble has set several sustainability goals over the next decade that revolve around integrating zero waste into its brands, supply chain and manufacturing facilities.
One of P&G’s products, Pampers, has been running a diaper waste collection pilot in Amsterdam with the goal of launching diaper recycling in 10 cities over the next decade. The company is also working toward a goal of ensuring 100% of its packaging will be recyclable or reusable by 2030, as well as a goal to reduce virgin petroleum plastic in packaging by 50%.
Products like Old Spice and Secret have become the first major brands to feature all-paper tube packaging that is made from 90% recycled paper. Other priorities include reducing carbon emissions, increasing water conservation and shifting to renewable energy.
In Europe, P&G Beauty is now offering a new aluminum reusable, refillable bottle system for several brands of shampoo. The fully recyclable refill pouches are made with 60% less plastic than standard shampoo bottles.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.
With the goal of recycling 1.2 million tonnes of hardware and supplies by 2025, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. is well on its way of achieving this goal. Through 2019, the company has recycled 528,300 tonnes.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. is also working toward using 30% post-consumer recycled content plastic across the company’s personal systems and print product portfolio by 2025.
Other goals include reducing HP product use GHG emissions intensity by 30% by 2025, when compared to 2015, achieve zero deforestation associated with HP brand paper and paper-based product packaging and plant 1 million trees to support the Arbor Day Foundation.
That’s not all, though. Hewlett Packard is also working toward goals that involve tackling ocean plastics, reducing the environmental impacts of metals, designing out waste and creating packaging designs that use materials with lower environmental impact.
For industrial companies that generate solvent waste, Temarry Recycling offers a closed loop recycling program that is restorative and regenerative.
Based in Southern California, Temarry operates a facility just across the border in Tecate, Mexico that features a closed loop recycling process. This is an example of a circular economy in action, which ultimately aims to keep materials out of landfills and at their highest utility and value.
Here’s how Temarry Recycling’s system works:
A waste to energy process converts high BTU organic solids to steam that is then used as energy on-site.
A solvent distillation process uses this steam as an alternative energy to power recovery stills. Through distillation, spent solvents are re-manufactured and sold back into industry for their original solvent properties.
A water treatment process then extracts usable water from industrial hazardous wastes, including acids, bases, coolants, oily water and latex paint. Treated water is then used for industrial needs on-site, such as during the waste to energy process and in the cooling tower.
How do companies benefit from using a closed loop recycling system for their solvents versus other waste disposal methods? Some companies send their spent solvents to fuel blending facilities. Closed loop recycling, however, prevents any degradation of properties.
For example, while fuel blending delays the disposal of materials, the end product serves a different purpose, otherwise known as open loop recycling. Therefore, there will always be a need for more of the original material. Closed loop recycling, on the other hand, allows the recycling of the original material and it can be used indefinitely without the degradation of properties.
Temarry Recycling also allows West Coast companies to reduce their carbon footprint and transportation costs. Sending solvent waste to fuel blending facilities across the country to sites in Kansas and Arkansas dramatically increases a company’s carbon footprint and transportation costs due to the amount of diesel fuel needed.
Finally, a company’s liability for their hazardous waste also ends at the U.S.-Mexico border, where Temarry Recycling becomes the Principal Responsible Party in the United States and Recicladora Temarry de Mexico accepts generator liability in Mexico.
By offering zero waste services, Temarry Recycling is revolutionizing the waste industry and paving a way for companies to embrace a more sustainable future.
Where To Begin
Knowing where to begin can be the most difficult part of your journey toward implementing sustainable changes in your operations.
Once you’ve researched some options and gained inspiration from other companies like the ones above, the next step is to develop a sustainability plan.
A sustainability plan is an outline of how your organization plans to achieve goals that create financial, societal and environmental sustainability. It provides a guide for any business seeking to better itself over time, and perhaps more importantly, allows you to measure your sustainability initiatives and create milestones that demonstrate success. Having achievable milestones makes you more likely to achieve your goals.
You can read more about how to create a sustainability plan in our article, What Is A Sustainability Plan?