Thanks To Consumer Demand, Companies Are Greener Than Ever

In the last year, 25 percent more companies have tout the environmental and social benefits of their products, and 40 percent of all companies now say they’ve taken action to improve the eco-friendliness of what they offer.


Nov. 19 2020, Updated 9:40 p.m. ET

Corporations are feeling the pressure to go green, and that's a really good thing for the environment. In the last year, 25 percent more companies have touted the environmental and social benefits of their products, and 40 percent of all companies now say they’ve taken action to improve the eco-friendliness of what they offer. This shift suggests a trend no one should ignore: Corporations are listening to where consumers put their dollars, and as buyers invest their money into eco-friendly products and brands, companies are changing practices to meet their demands.

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How you shop is shifting corporate policies for the better. 

In general, you know that consumer demand drives the products companies sell. So when Walmart comes out with Project Gigaton, an initiative to take 1 billion tons of greenhouse gases out of its supply chain by 2030, you know consumer demand for green products and eco-friendly practices is growing exponentially.

Products traveling along the consumer-supply chain account for a whopping “60 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, three-quarters of forced and child labor, and nearly two-thirds of tropical deforestation,” Euan Murray, chief executive of The Sustainability Consortium (TSC), wrote in Green Biz. TSC is a global, non-profit organization functioning to green the consumer-goods industry.

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Organizations like Murray’s seek to change those numbers, bolstered by consumers creating pressure for corporations to create more eco-friendly items, and clean up their supply chains in order to lessen their carbon footprints and treatment of workers. That pressure has created openings for groups like TSC to assist corporations in their transitions toward greener policies.

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Corporations are now responsible for leading global movements; from Science-Based Targets to Ikea’s “all-in” sustainability initiative. Efforts like this cross multiple lines along the supply chain, from scientists and regulatory bodies to a variety of companies and even NGO community members.

From manufacturers of underwear to jeans companies, corporate America is listening. 

Two companies to recently get in on the sustainability trend are Fruit of the Loom, which joined TSC in July in order to adopt better environmental practices, and Wrangler, which this week joined the group Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, a group figuring out sustainable agriculture methods along the supply chain.

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As a member of TSC, companies like Fruit of the Loom gain access to one of the world’s biggest research databases, which translate real-time data and science into business tools and goals to increase profits while reducing carbon footprints. And corporate moves like this one aren’t the result of federal mandates: They’re directly related to what you, the consumer, are purchasing.   

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Sustainable business models are just common sense. 

Based on findings from TSC’s 2017 Impact Report, applying sustainable practices is more than a trend—it’s a necessity in a world of ever-shrinking natural resources. That’s where organizations like TSC come into play, offering research into the benefits of corporate “greening,” and working with companies to help them grow by incorporating more sustainable practices.

That can mean making the supply chain more eco-friendly, changing basic practices or materials used, and providing tools and services that allow companies to transition to cleaner energy and environmentally friendly products. Today, more than $130 billion worth of consumer goods are managed with TSC tools—a number growing every day.

“Our strategy [is] to turn Blind spots into Hotspots into Action into Growth (BHAG),” Murray says. “Our BHAG here is to deliver sustainability impact at scale. In an increasingly resource-constrained world, we know that successful companies must decouple their future growth from social and environmental issues.” That sounds like a business model we can all get behind.  

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