Going Green: How Companies Are Incorporating Environmental Initiatives
Consumers, as well as shareholders, are becoming increasingly aware of how their choices impact the environment. Whether it’s due to consumer demand, the media spotlight or a genuine desire to do good, many publicly traded companies are involved in some form of sustainability effort. From investing in green energy supplies to using less water for industrial processes, these companies are increasingly focused on bringing more environmentally sound processes online. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
A leading semiconductor manufacturer, Analog Devices, Inc. (Tii:ADI) is looking to reduce the environmental impact of its factories by focusing on four primary areas: waste prevention, water conservation, limiting gas emissions, and energy efficiency. As a result, the company decreased water usage by 6% and recycled 60% of its solid waste by 2019. Analog Devices also invested in modernizing systems that allowed the company to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 37% since 2015. Similarly, Intel Corporation (Tii:INTC) has 31 funded projects to restore billions of gallons of water into the environment. In 2018 and 2019 combined, 11 of those projects restored 1 billion gallons a year.
Consumer foods giant General Mills, Inc. (Tii:GIS) has focused on sustainable supply chains for its ingredients for many years. By only going to sustainable ingredients, the company prevents natural plant resources from being depleted in the environment. The company tracks 10 ingredients on its sustainability list, including palm oil, sugar beets, and dairy milk. So far, the company has been able to sustainably source 85% of its ingredients in 2018 and 91% in 2019. As the country’s largest brewer and leading American manufacturer, Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (Tii:BUD) announced a $100 million investment toward sustainability projects that include solar panel installments, water treatment and other similar initiatives over the next two years.
While some may not expect a financial services company like Comerica Incorporated (Tii:CMA) would put a strain on the environment, running any large operation may consume vast amounts of water or produce paper waste. Comerica announced it reached 100% of its 2020 environmental goals, reducing office copy paper usage by 56.3%, lowering landfill waste by 30.3%, trimming greenhouse gas emissions by 48.1% and decreasing water consumption by 33.3%. Since 2007, Alphabet, Inc. (Tii:GOOG), the parent company of Google, has sought out green initiatives such as utilizing wind farms to meet its goal of becoming carbon-free by 2030. The company’s efforts have earned it the Excellence of Green Power award from the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Not to be outdone, The Walt Disney Company (Tii:DIS) built a 270-acre, 50-megawatt solar facility at Walt Disney World in 2019 that is anticipated to generate enough power from the sun to operate two of its four theme parks in Orlando annually. The steam trains and the Mark Twain Riverboat at Disneyland Resort in California run on biodiesel made from the resort’s own recycled cooking oil. Disney also eliminated single-use plastic straws and stirrers at all owned and operated locations worldwide, a reduction of more than 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers annually. All Disney hotels and cruise ships are also transitioning to refillable in-room amenities, reducing plastics in guest rooms by 80%.
At the heart of these eco-initiatives is creating value for stakeholders and employees, customers, suppliers, and the broader society, including the environment. Hopefully, as time progresses, initiatives such as those mentioned here will become commonplace, and sustainability will be part of the normal course of doing business.