January 4, 2021
More people care about the environment, as evidenced by the green economy’s growth. These are companies and organizations focused on reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. University College London published a study concluding that the U.S.’s green economy employs more than 9.5 million people and generates $1.3 trillion. In increasing numbers, consumers are taking steps to help the environment by reducing electricity consumption, plastic use, water waste and investing in companies whose ecological values reflect theirs.
Here are just a few brands taking environmentally friendly steps to further our natural resources and make the world a cleaner, safer, and greener place.
Darling Ingredients Inc. (Tii:DAR)
Darling Ingredients collects and repurposes animal-based co-products and other natural materials that would otherwise be discarded, such as used restaurant cooking oil. The company then converts these by-products into useable ingredients that fit market demands, including natural ingredients that can be placed into pet foods, animal feed, fertilizers, fuel bioenergy and pharmaceutical products.
The company has been on a mission to recapture waste and transform it into useful products that can be consumed or used in other applications. For example, one company division takes leftover breads, pasta, crackers, snack chips and other bakery products and processes the used products into new high-energy animal food ingredients. The company reported combined adjusted EBITDA for its third quarter was $218.5 million, compared to $147.8 million for the same period in 2019 on $850.6 million in net sales. Its third quarter was the company’s best performing of the year.
Seventh Generation Co. - The Unilever Group (Tii:UL)
The Seventh Generation Co. has made its mark on the eco-friendly industry by focusing entirely on sustainable, healthy, and environmentally-conscious products. Acquired by Unilever in 2016 for an estimated $700 million, the company uses plant-based formulas in many of their cleaning and household products while investing in recycled packaging to reduce the amount of non-biodegradable waste that goes into landfills. The Seventh Generation Co. is also focused on climate justice initiatives as it places calls for action with cities, companies, and other organizations to adopt 100% renewable energy and zero waste in processes.
First Solar, Inc. (Tii:FSLR)
First Solar is a global provider of solar panels and other economically friendly alternative energy technologies. By offering energy alternatives, the company looks to make a more sustainable future where businesses and individuals can meet their energy needs without relying on limited fossil fuel consumption. The company announced earlier in the year that its 141-megawatt power plant in Chile became the world’s first known utility-scale solar facility licensed to deliver ancillary grid services commercially. Investors have taken notice. Shares of First Solar, which began the year at $56.67, are up more than 77% (as of December 30).
Waste Management Inc. (Tii:WM)
Waste is a significant contributor to the worsening climate. As more waste enters landfills, it takes away land that can be used to preserve plants and wildlife. Also, the waste can end up in water resources and beaches to harm wildlife. Waste Management Inc., the largest trash collector in North America, is all about doing something with this trash. While some garbage still ends up in landfills, the company also operates recycling and renewable energy divisions to transform the waste into something useful. For example, the company takes the gas created by decomposing materials and generates electricity that can be sold to utility companies.
United Natural Foods, Inc. (Tii:UNFI)
United Natural Foods is an organic food wholesaler seeking to make a sustainable and greener future for everyone through its environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes and food products. The company focuses on organic farming and sustainable agriculture practices. Firmly ensconced in the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) area, the company focuses on climate action and supplier diversity, animal welfare and workplace safety. The company is also involved in sustainable transportation processes as well as climate action programs. Shares for the company, which began trading this year at $9.10, are up more than 74% for 2020 (as of December 30).
Helping to protect the environment are worthy causes that everyone can take part in. These companies are among others seeking sustainability projects and processes that will make the world a green and healthier place.
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