Businesses Continue To Expand Green Initiatives By Making Bigger, Bolder Sustainability Commitments

From supply chain to greener transportation, report finds businesses are thinking bigger and longer term about sustainability.

Oakland, CA: In 2010, U.S. corporations continued to enhance their sustainable business efforts by making bigger, bolder, longer-term sustainability commitments.

GreenBiz has issued its 4th annual State of Green Business report. The free downloadable report measures the progress of U.S. business and the economy from an environmental perspective, and highlights key trends in corporate culture in regard to the environment.

This year's report shows a dramatic shift occurring in mainstream business: Companies are thinking bigger and longer-term about sustainability — an analysis of businesses in 2010 shows that even during economically challenging times, many companies invested more in their sustainability activities and made bold new sustainability commitments. For example:

  • Procter and Gamble made a commitment to power company operations with 30 percent renewable energy by 2020;
  • FedEx committed to improve vehicle fuel efficiency by 20 percent by 2020;
  • Walmart pledged to sell $1 billion of fresh produce sourced from 1000 small- and medium-sized farmers;
  • Hasbro promised that 75 percent of its paperboard packaging will come from recycled materials in 2011.

Joel Makower, executive editor of GreenBiz.com and principal author of the report concluded that, "Companies are thinking bigger and longer-term about sustainability — a sea change from their otherwise notoriously incremental, short-term thinking. And during these tough times, many have doubled down on their sustainability activities and commitments. During 2010, we saw a steady march of progress, with some of the world's biggest companies and brands putting a stake in the ground in the name of environmental (and, sometimes) social sustainability. "

This steady march toward progress is marked by 10 big trends that Makower identifies in the 2011 State of Green Business Report including:

1. Consumer Giants Awaken to Green — big push by consumer package good companies to make bold sustainability commitments;

2. Companies Aim for 'Zero' — growth of zero-waste goals and achievements by big companies;

3. The Developing World Yanks the Supply-Chain — key issues like "conflict minerals" and sustainable palm oil rattling supply chains;

4. Greener Transport Gains Speed — new green technologies coming to market — not just electric vehicles and plug-in cars, but also trucks, trains, and planes;

5. Sustainable Food Sourcing Becomes Palatable — more commitments by big companies, led by Walmart;

6. Metrics and Standards Become the Rule — a surge of interest on sustainability standards and on standardizing metrics for assessing companies;

7. Greener Chemistry Comes Out of the Lab — combination of toxics headlines around the world and surge of new products from Big Chemical makes this a mainstream market;

8. Companies Learn to Close the Loop — the growth of new products made from recycled materials;

9. Water Footprinting Makes a Splash — the growth of methodologies and technologies for understanding the footprint of a product, facility, or company;

10. Bioplastics Become Material — a steady flow of new materials emerges, made of corn to coconut to cashews.

To download a free copy of "State of Green Business 2011," visit www.greenbiz.com.