How Eco-Friendly are Global Businesses?

15 Aug, 2017

There’s no doubt about it that being seen to be eco-friendly is high on the agenda of most global businesses these days.

You only have to Google “sustainability” and a company name to find their environmentally friendly policy on their website which they are all too happy to share with you. Their marketing revolves around it and for some customers it can make the difference as to whether they buy from them or not.

So what are some of the big global companies doing to meet their sustainability targets?

Siemens, the German industrial conglomerate whose businesses range from power plants to medical imaging machinery recently took the top spot in an extensive survey of the world’s most sustainable companies*.  It was found that they were the most energy-efficient firm in its sector.  It produces more revenue per kilowatt than any other industrial corporation.  It also has a very low carbon footprint and low employee turnover.  Further and perhaps key to its success in this area, the business is also growing a proportion of its business to creating environmentally friendly infrastructure, with products like green heating and air conditioning systems.

Hotel chains are often keen to be seen to be at the forefront of being environmentally friendly.  With the vast amounts of consumables that they use and waste (water, food and energy for example) it’s easy to see how this could prove a challenge.  But Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel chain keeps upping the stakes in the eco-hospitality industry game.  In 2008 they created their eco-conscious ‘Element’ brand which has 22 properties worldwide and a further 72 in the pipeline.  By 2019 Element will form part of an eco-friendly development in Cairo featuring the largest housing and commercial facility in Egypt and the Middle East.

And what about some of the big household brands? What are they up to? Well Amazon have an entire section of their website dedicated to showing you how environmentally friendly they are.  From the packaging they use, their commitment to using renewable energy (they boast that they were the leading corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the United States in 2016), to responsible sourcing of products it’s clear that being an eco-friendly business is high on Amazon’s agenda.

Tesco have hit the news in the last week due to their plans to scrap the single use 5p carrier bag. Tesco sells the highest number of plastic bags of all the country’s major supermarkets.  The move away from the 5p bags to the reusable 10p bags comes in a bid by the supermarket giant to ensure that shoppers use fewer bags, reducing litter and the amount of plastic sent to landfill.  Sales from the pricier bags will then go on to fund community projects.  It’s a bold move by the supermarket but certainly emphasises their commitment to being and being seen to be an eco-friendly company.

And finally, what does a company like Nestle do to be eco-friendly? Well as their website says, Nestle are one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies.   As such they can shape sustainable consumption and steward resources for future generations.   Their eco-friendly policies are based around three keys topics of caring for water, acting on climate change and safeguarding the environment.  Specific activities include treating water discharge effectively, providing climate change leadership and improving the environmental performance of their packaging.

So, it seems that global companies are indeed leading the way (as we would expect) when it comes to sustainability and being eco-friendly.  But what can SME’s gain from being eco-friendly?

At ISO Quality Services Limited, we see the benefits that our clients experience from having ISO 14001 Environmental Management every day including saving costs, enhanced company image and the reduction of environmental risks.

If you would like to know more about how you can scale down some of the big global companies’ sustainability policies to suit your own business and tie in with ISO 14001, why not give us a call on 01905 670303 or e-mail for more details.


*information taken from Corporate Knights’ study of 4000 global companies in 2017 ahead of a presentation at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and published by Forbes online.

ISO Quality Services Ltd are proud to specialise in the implementation and certification of the Internationally recognised ISO and BS EN Management Standards.

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