Environmentalists have spent the last few decades spreading the word about the dangerous effects of climate change and how humans are contributing to the rapid decline of the planet. Now, everyday citizens and companies are beginning to fight for the environment in unprecedented ways. For example, various business and political leaders from countries all over the world recently conducted a two-week meeting in Paris to brainstorm new ways to significantly reduce carbon emissions.
In fact, many businesses realize that climate change is a huge threat to their business models as well as a danger to human and animal life. To combat the negative effects of climate change, the following multinational businesses are taking steps to improve the sustainability of their operations:
One of the foremost global companies in the charge against climate change is Google. Not only has the company been vocal about increasing environmental awareness, but it has also implemented various sustainability initiatives across its many locations. It has been carbon neutral for a decade and intends to reach 100 percent renewable energy at all its facilities this year.
Over the years, Google has invested $2.5 billion in sustainable energy products. One of these initiatives, an information tool called Project Sunroof lets consumers know how much solar potential their roof has and how much it might cost them to add solar panels to their home. Sunroof also helps connect consumers with qualified solar providers in their area.
Google has also partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to map minor methane leaks coming from aging natural gas pipes running beneath America’s cities. As part of the initiative, Google Street View cars use special sensors developed at Colorado State University to detect methane emissions in the atmosphere. While these small leaks pose no immediate health concerns, over long periods, methane gas can have 86 times the greenhouse effect of carbon.
Other environmental projects that Google has invested in include an Oregon wind farm, into which it has poured $100 million. The company anticipates that the facility will provide enough energy for more than 200,000 homes in the area. Google has also invested heavily in Kenya’s Lake Turkana Wind Power Project, the largest wind power plant on the continent. The project is expected to go online this year and will boast 365 wind turbines.
Apple is another big corporation that is taking environmentalism seriously. The company is highly aware of its carbon footprint and works with suppliers to manufacture millions of electronic devices as responsibly as possible. According to Apple’s website, the company is committed to finding ways to improve its environmental friendliness in the areas of transportation, manufacturing, facilities, recycling, and product use.
For example, Apple carefully engineers each generation of products to be extremely energy efficient. Since 2008, the company has lowered the average amount of energy its products use by 64 percent. Apple also utilizes renewable energy to power over 90 percent of its offices, data centers, and retail stores, and it is also testing more efficient recycling and shipping strategies.
In 2015, Apple created a program designed to help its partners conserve energy by powering their facilities with clean energy. In China, where the bulk of Apple’s production takes place, the company is constructing solar energy plants to offset the emissions it produces during manufacturing. The company realizes that because its sells such a high volume of phones and other electronics, making even slight changes to the production process can have a huge impact on climate change.
People don’t usually envision a petroleum company when they think about organizations promoting sustainability. However, Shell is working to change the public’s perception of big oil. In fact, Shell executives recently advised investors that the company will continue searching for ways to further implement biofuels, as well as solar technology and wind power, through a new business unit entitled New Energies.
There are some who argue that big business is only concerned about climate change because consumers have become more vocal about the topic, and failing to address the issue may adversely impact sales. While this theory certainly cannot be ruled out, the fact remains that many large companies are working tirelessly to address key issues in the global climate change crisis.