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8 Companies That Have Gone Green

Green. It’s the new buzzword in business, politics, lifestyle. Green is the ideology that aims to create an ecologically sustainable society rooted in environmentalism, or concerns for the conservation and improvement of the environment. In this post we outline 8 American companies that have gone green.

Socially conscious companies have realized that “green” is good for business; embracing the concept is not only good from a public relations standpoint, but can also lead to more efficient, and in some cases, cost-saving operations. Most businesses have spread recycling bins around for paper waste but have they put one in the kitchen? Also there are other opportunities surrounding your printing efforts that can reduce waste such as the use of online libraries and file sharing so that employees can access items online instead of printing and even recycling your ink cartridges are effective recycling methods many businesses haven’t considered.

America’s greenest companies span the entire spectrum of industry, and some are successfully migrating their green philosophies and practices to their online business as well.

Some of the worlds greenest companies

McGraw Hill Publishing — A huge consumer of paper, the company is committed to purchasing only paper that adheres to strict standards and is produced in the most environmentally sustainable way.

Hartford Financial Group — It has electric vehicle charging stations throughout its Connecticut location and offers discounts on insurance policies for electric or hybrid vehicles. Hartford utilizes a flexible employment program, where employees can share shifts and work remotely, thereby saving energy expenses and cutting pollution from commuting.

Microsoft — The company made an unusual move in instructing its individual divisions that the corporate parent would be charging a carbon fee, making the divisions responsible for their electric use and air travel offsets. As a result, the company will be carbon neutral beginning this year.

Staples — The company relies on solar panels at more than thirty of its locations, including The Staples Center in Los Angeles, which on its own deploys over 1700 panels.  Additionally, last year the company helped customers recycle more than 67 million printer ink cartridges.

Intel — The chip maker giant buys more green energy than any other company and has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions over 30 percent during the past five years.

Sprint — This was the first telecom company to encourage its customers to recycle old devices, and it gives buyers credit for doing so. It is Sprint’s goal to recycle 9 out of every 10 handsets over the next several years.

HP — Hewlett-Packard has lowered its emissions by 50 percent over the past several years, and strongly encourages its vendors to be green as well. They are steadfast in refusing to do business with companies linked to deforesting and illegal logging.

Green Grocers
Among retailers, grocery chains figure prominently as green companies. Super Valu, Kroger, and Safeway have projects that save energy through alternative power sources at their outlets, or work hard with vendors to deal in only sustainable food sources.

Sears offers customers a wide variety of options for recycling old appliances, and has a pilot partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency that enables appliances to be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.

How Green Migrates to an Online Presence
Translating a company’s green ideology to its online presence is not an easy task, yet more and more companies are doing it, if not because of their social conscience, at least as a part of their marketing strategy.

At minimum, corporate websites are making American consumers more aware of green options; 93 percent have said they have done something to conserve energy in the past year, and 73 percent say they have purchased something made from recycled materials in the past year. Purchasing greener products helps the environment on many levels.

The online presence of America’s green companies portrays an effort to educate consumers and in some cases, provide calls to action.

McGraw Hill, a major textbook publisher, is developing online learning tools and eBooks for schools, which results in less trees ending up as textbooks. Staples states their environmental policies, goals and a path as to how they will accomplish their goals on their website.

HP’s website shares recycling options for various pieces and components of technology devices, and the options are not limited to HP products. Possibilities exist to recycle, dispose, trade, or even have some equipment purchased back by the company. Sprint’s online presence discusses its corporate commitments to not only recycling, but also to using renewable energy to power its nationwide networks.

Safeway has a comprehensive green section on its website, which discusses everything from dealing with local sustainable farms, to their resource conservation and sustainability initiatives to conserve natural resources and develop and utilize alternative energy sources.

Corporate America is slowly waking up to its obligation to protect and sustain the planet as well as local communities. As their efforts filter down through their companies, they will use their web presences to tell their customers, vendors, and communities of the impact of their efforts. Everyone can contribute to being greener. The Environmental Protection Agency provides some starter points on how to shop green.

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