Eco-Friendly Firms (Part 1)
Successful eco-friendly actions and policies initiated by Patagonia include the use of organically grown cotton to make its products. Beyond Meat's eco-friendly actions include the use of 100% plant-based ingredients to make its products and help address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions attributed to livestock rearing. One of TOMS's eco-friendly policies is to manufacture all the shoes it donates in the regions where they are distributed. Detailed information is below.
Switch to Organically Grown Cotton
- In 1994, Patagonia decided to switch from using cotton grown using chemicals to organically grown cotton in its line. The goal of the company was to start selling a new organic line of products. Patagonia made changes in its supply chain and changed from purchasing cotton fabrics from just any mill to buying from textile mills that could produce fabrics that met the organic cotton standards.
- To achieve the goal, the company strengthened its relationship with the full supply chain, including farmers growing cotton, spinners, knitters, weavers, dyers, factories that make the finished garments, and textile mills that make the fabric. It introduced a "fully converted line" in 1996. The change to the use of organic cotton in its products first led to a reduction in the number of styles by around 30% as Patagonia could not find a fabric that met its quality standards.
- Patagonia developed a private cotton supply chain to enable it to create new and unique fabrics and yarns that it previously could not find in its supply chain. This enabled the company to recover from the 30% reduction in cotton styles, and the new fabric led to good sales. It has successfully used only organic cotton to make its products for more than 20 years.
- The other goal when the company switched to organic cotton was to influence people in society to adopt sustainable agriculture. The company educated people on the issue by making relevant information available in its catalogs and retail stores. The initiative has been a success as "organic has become a household word in many parts of the world."
The Worn Wear Initiative
- The worn wear initiative by Patagonia aims to promote recycling and "keep gear in play" by extending its life. This eco-friendly initiative reduces consumption and promotes recycling of what is already there, to benefit the planet. It also reduces water, carbon, and waste footprints.
- The company makes high-quality items that last long. This prevents people from buying more too soon. The company sells already-worn attire in special events.
Environmental Grants and Support
- Patagonia provides grants and support to environmental organizations around the world. The company has the policy to give 1% of its sales to environmental organizations at the grassroots level all over the world, where it has representatives on the ground. Grants range between $2,500 — $15,000 and are intended to make a difference to the environment.
- The company acknowledges that its activities have an impact on the environment as it uses resources and produces waste. It feels that it is its responsibility to give back what it calls its "Earth Tax." By 2017, $89 million was donated by the company for environmental work. Patagonia has also invested $75 million in "environmentally and socially-minded companies through its venture capital fund called Tin Shed Ventures.
Use of Plant-Based Ingredients
- Beyond Meat's initiative has been to shift from offering animal to plant-based beef, burgers, and sausage. All the products offered by the company are 100% plant-based. This initiative helps address climate change, human health, pressure on natural resources, and animal welfare.
- Beyond Meat received the "2018 Champions of the Earth" award from the United Nations for producing sustainable alternatives to beef. Rearing livestock accounts for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions in the world and the positive climate action of Beyond Meat helps counter this.
Use of Non-GMO Ingredients
- The company also uses no genetically modified organisms (GMO) ingredients to make its products. All Beyond Meat's U.S. retail products are "non-GMO verified from The non-GMO Project." The company also uses ingredients with no hormones and antibiotics.
- According to a University of Michigan analysis which compared "the environmental impact of the Beyond Burger to a ¼ lb. U.S. beef burger," a Beyond Burger uses 99% less water, 93% less land, 46% less energy, and generates 90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a beef burger.
Producing Donated Shoes Where They are Distributed
- TOMS donates shoes to under-served communities. To date, the company has donated more than 93 million new pairs of shoes. In 2013, TOMS initiated a policy where it committed to making one-third of its donated shoes in the regions where they are distributed. This was to build sustainability, reduce carbon footprint, and create jobs.
- The eco-friendly initiative has been successful as the company now manufactures all its donated shoes in regions where they are distributed.
Building Sustainable Water Systems
- TOMS currently provides grants to communities to help care for the environment. For example, the company helps to "build sustainable water systems that will support under-served communities for generations to come." To date, TOMS has helped give over 730,000 weeks of safe water and committed over $6.5 million in impact grants.
- The TOMS Roasting Company has also helped to give "335,000 weeks of safe water in 6 countries." The company initiated a policy to donate 140 liters or a week's supply of safe water to people in need, for every purchase of TOMS Roasting coffee.
Auditing of the Supply Chain for Environmental Violations
- Another eco-friendly policy initiated by the company is that the supply chain, including factories that produce finished products for TOMS, are audited 100% for environmental concerns. The company also monitors suppliers of its raw-materials to ensure they comply with the set guidelines. Before a factory can start doing business with TOMS, it receives an unannounced factory visit and audit for environmental issues.
- The audits are carried out on a yearly basis. They help to ensure credibility and bring accountability to the supply chain.
To find successful eco-friendly actions and policies initiated by each firm, we searched their websites and industry publications for relevant information. There were regional restrictions on accessing the TOMS website and so we used archive.com to view the firm's website.