It’s increasingly important to consumers that brands take their responsibilities seriously. A brand’s social, governance and environmental behaviors are shaping who customers choose to shop with.
From installing more electric vehicle chargers to reducing how often they discard clothes, and from checking a company’s modern slavery policy to observing how they treat their employees, consumers are taking note of how brands act. They’re happy to turn their backs on those who fall foul of their ethical and environmental duties.
In this handy guide, we’ll identify some of the companies taking steps to reduce their waste and pollution. ESG investing is driving more investment into companies that are committed to better environmental, social and governance practices — and you could join them by buying shares in one of the following companies:
An incredible 1.8 billion Coca-Cola bottles and cans are being sold every day across 200 different countries. It has made Coca-Cola one of the biggest and most recognizable global brands in the world. Emerging onto the beverage scene way back in 1886, it has grown to dominate the soda industry.
It is believed that Coca-Cola produces more tons of plastic packaging every year than any other company — and they recently landed themselves in hot water for being the most prominent brand found on beaches across the world.
In an attempt to clean up its image as a global polluter, Coca-Cola has committed to using only recyclable packaging by 2025 and using 50% recycled material by 2030. They’re also intending to operate a recycling-to-selling ratio of 1:1 by 2030 — meaning that for every can or bottle sold, it’ll recycle or reuse one.
Despite its history of pollution and waste, Coca-Cola has a long history of implementing recycling programs dating back to 1953’s Keep America Beautiful anti-litter campaign. It’s great to see a deepening commitment in 2023.
There’s already evidence of success too. In 2021, they recycled or refilled 61% of all the bottles and cans they sold.
Originally emerging onto the tech scene in 1976, Apple has become one of only three brands to be worth over $1 trillion. Using new technologies, Apple is committed to resolving its waste and pollution problems.
There are lots of examples of better waste management at Apple in recent years. The company has removed the plastic wrap from new iPhones, started using 100% recycled tungsten in the Taptic engine of its products, and uses assembly sites that are verified as zero waste. The gold in the wire of all Apple’s cameras is 100% recycled too, plus they use renewable energy sources to reduce their pollution impact.
Apple also operates a recycling program in its stores whereby customers can return products to be recycled. Robots at Apple can disassemble the device into parts that are used again.
Apple itself became carbon neutral in 2020 and has a well-documented commitment to ensure all its products are too by 2030.
More than 50 million metric tons of electronic waste are generated every year and Apple’s commitments will hugely support the effort to reduce this year on year.
The cosmetics brand Lush burst onto the scene in 1995 with an ethical mission to provide cruelty-free products. Boasting a 100% vegetarian range of products including soaps, moisturizers, shampoos and shower gels, Lush has taken big steps to reduce waste in recent years.
Many of their products are displayed without packaging. Not only does this allow customers to see the stunning colors of the products and enjoy the quintessential Lush scent, but this has also reduced their waste substantially.
Products that can’t be displayed without packaging are available in black plastic tubs. Sounds problematic, but these tubs are 100% recyclable and there’s a great program in place. All a customer needs to do is take the tubs back to the store. They’ll even be rewarded for doing so with a free product or money off future purchases.
This fast-food giant generated $23.2bn in revenue in 2021 and is the second-largest private employer in the world with an incredible 1.7 million employees. Nearly 70 million customers frequent a McDonald’s establishment every day — which creates a lot of waste.
Aware of growing social trends, McDonald’s has outlined a commitment to reducing pollution and waste. It’s working to obtain 100% of its packaging from renewable or recycled sources, to only use recycled plastic in food trays and Happy Meal toys and to recycle cooking oils and food waste. It also intends to reach net zero emissions by 2050.