Earth Day: Brands Pledging to Reduce Their Environmental Impact
It may be hard to believe, but this April 22nd marks the 51st annual Earth Day Celebration. Created in 1970 in support of environmental protection initiatives, Earth Day is now observed in more than 140 countries worldwide. With the public – including many shareholders – increasingly concerned with the environment and the impact big businesses have on it, most publicly traded companies have put initiatives in place to offset carbon footprints, reduce water and energy usage or otherwise address environmental concerns. Here is a look at a few of them.
AT&T Inc. (Tii:T) announced plans to become carbon neutral across its entire global operations by 2035 to achieve net zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions (the yearly equivalent of 1,104,036 homes’ electricity usage). To reach this goal, the telecom giant plans to eliminate significant portions of its energy-intense network equipment and rely instead on low-cost, energy-efficient hardware, transition to a low-emissions fleet, accelerate energy efficiency and network optimization efforts, and expand sustainable feature film and TV production at its WarnerMedia subsidiary. AT&T has also entered into power purchase agreements with renewable energy developers, reducing its emissions footprint.
Through its corporate responsibility and sustainability strategy, The Campbell Soup Company (Tii:CPB) rolled out new sustainability commitments to reduce packaging waste by increasing circularity – keeping materials in use and out of landfills. The processed food and snack company aims to transition 100% of its packaging to recyclable or industrially compostable materials and designs by 2030. In September 2020, Campbell Soup joined retailers and food industry peers in the “10x20x30” initiative with the goal of halving food loss and waste by 2030. The initiative is dedicated to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 12.3, which calls for a 50% reduction in food loss and waste worldwide by 2030. As part of this commitment, Campbell Soup measures and publishes its food loss and waste inventories.
United Parcel Service Inc. (Tii:UPS) delivered an average of 24.7 million pieces per day, or a total of 6.3 billion packages in 2020. With its massive fleet of vehicles, the global logistics services provider is looking to reduce its impact on the environment. To that end, the company invested in renewable natural gas to reduce emissions by more than 1 million metric tons. UPS also added more than 6,000 compressed natural gas vehicles to its fleet, planted 2.8 million trees in 2019, and completed a 10MW deployment of rooftop solar arrays. UPS operations in 10 European countries are now achieving near-zero emissions through the use of renewable electricity.
The Kohl’s Corporation (Tii:KSS) has focused on reducing its carbon footprint by decreasing the resources its stores use and lowering waste. For electricity generation, the department store retail chain installed 200,000 solar panels on 161 stores and has two wind turbines to produce power at a distribution center. As a result, nearly half of Kohl’s energy consumption is solar power. The company has also diverted 83% of its waste from entering landfills.
One of the largest global apparel manufacturers with $7.1 billion in 2020 revenues, PVH Corp. (Tii:PVH) is the company behind a suite of lifestyle brands led by Calvin Klein, Van Heusen and Tommy Hilfiger. PVH announced plans for its offices, warehouses and stores to be powered by 100% renewable electricity by 2030, and the company will drive a 30% reduction in its supply chain emissions by 2030. The fashion house also reported that it expects its offices, distribution centers, and stores to achieve zero waste and eliminate single-use plastics by 2030.
With the public eye increasingly focused on the impact we all have on the environment, expect corporations to continue creating programs and initiatives toward sustainability efforts – ideally creating long-term stakeholder value while also improving the natural ecosystem.